ORONO, Maine -- The University of Maine athletic department is sad to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Dick Collins (Maine ’59). Collins, along with his wife, Anne, were outstanding supporters of Maine athletics in both their time and resources.
“Dick Collins represented all you could ask for in a University of Maine graduate; he was an intelligent, hard working, honest and loyal man who cared deeply for his family, state, country and alma mater,” said associate athletic director Seth Woodcock. “He will be missed by many, but forgotten by none of us who were fortunate enough to know him.”
“I called him ‘Coach’ Collins for a reason,” said football coach Jack Cosgrove. “He was a great mentor and friend. I have not met a single individual in my life who cared more about the University of Maine. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Anne, and this entire Collins Family!”
Collins played basketball for the Black Bears from 1956-1959, serving as captain for the 1958-59 season. He led the team to its first winning season in 1958-59 when the Black Bears finished with a record of 15-7. He was elected into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 as both a basketball player and benefactor. Collins was a fixture at Maine athletics events both at home and on the road until his death.
Collins was an extremely generous supporter of the University of Maine, including multimillion dollar gifts. The Maine Center for the Arts was renovated and the venue renamed the Richard R. and Anne M. Collins Center for the Arts. He donated over a million dollars to the University of Maine Memorial Gym and Fieldhouse renovation.
A member of the UMaine Class of 1959, Mr. Collins grew up on a potato farm in St. Agatha. Collins retired in 1992 after a successful career in the insurance industry, serving from 1980 to 1992 as President and CEO of American Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of American International Group. Collins served in leadership capacities on many University of Maine boards and councils.
The University of Maine athletic department offers sincere condolences to the Collins family. Mr. Collins was a wonderful man and will be greatly missed by all associated with Maine athletics.