On November 13, 2004, Stephen William Collis affectionately known as “Coach,” reached the 200-win mark in his last varsity game as Peddie defeated Blair Academy 4-3 in Blairstown. Twenty years before on the same soccer pitch, Steve picked up his first win.
“Soccer is a great sport because there is so much to learn about technique and strategy,” said Collis. “But it is also a great game because there are no helmets or sticks and a player does not have to be physically intimidating or fast to make an impact.”
During his two decades as head coach of boys’ soccer, Collis did his best to overcome the domination of national powerhouse St. Benedict’s. “We threw everything at them and nearly pulled off some upsets,” said Collis. In 1993 and 1999, The Trenton Times honored Collis as the All-Area Prep Soccer Coach of the Year.
A legendary high school soccer player at Steinert (Hamilton, NJ), Collis went on to the University of Rhode Island where he redefined the meaning of “wearing two hats” by spending his Saturdays in the fall netting goals for the soccer team in the mornings and kicking field goals for the football team in the afternoons. In a rare feat, Collis single-handedly spoiled New Hampshire’s Homecoming by scoring the game-winner in soccer followed by booting the winning field goal on the gridiron.
For his athletic achievements and service to the game of soccer, Collis was inducted into the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame in 2000.
“Steve’s care and compassion and his sense of humor endeared him to those who played for him,” said athletic director Geoff Harlan. “Steve was a steadfast and loyal supporter and fan of all of Peddie’s teams.”
Collis served as an equipment manager and coach for 28 years at Peddie, but he will be remembered most for his undeniable loyalty, generosity, sense of humor and love of sports.
“Soccer is not just a game of skill, it’s a game of emotion and determination,” said Collis. “I tried to pass along my passion for the game.”