Booth named head football coach at Collins High School

The Collins Tigers have a new football coach.
Eric Booth has been named the head coach of the Tigers who boasted their second straight state title last fall.
The Bassfield native was approved last week as Collins’ new football coach and athletic director, replacing Ryan Earnest, who became Ridgeland’s coach in January.
“Coach Booth is going to be a good fit for Collins,” said Dr. Arnetta Crosby, Superintendent of the Covington County Schools. “He has 12-15 years of coaching experience and was an all start athlete at USM.”
Booth led the nation in kickoff returns in 1997 with an average of 34.8 yards per return with two touchdowns for Southern Miss.
He was previously the offensive coordinator at Prentiss, a position he has held since 2010. He went to Prentiss after spending 10 years as an assistant at Lawrence County.
“He was instrumental in the successful program at Prentiss,” Crosby noted. “His Superintendent in Jeff Davis County told me that Coach Booth is one of the finest young men he has ever met.”
Collins has won two straight state championships in Class 3A, but will graduate 25 players from last year’s team. Booth noted that he is excited about what he believes will be a “rebuilding year.”
“I’ve been watching them for the past couple of years and I know that I have seventh, eighth and ninth grade classes coming up,” Booth said. “I knew they were losing about 25 seniors, too. I thought it was a good place to start building my own program.”
He will utilize the spread offense during the spring and expects to have several holdovers from Earnest’s staff.
He also believes his experience as a former Division I college football player will benefit him as a first-year head coach.
“It has a big impact,” Booth said. “You can tell them exactly what the college expects from them. I tell them that when they leave here, things will be totally different. I try to tell them everything I learned in college to help them get ready for college.”
“It’s going to be a time of rebuilding for our football team,” said Crosby. “I would hope that everyone realizes that, and will give Coach Booth a little time to build his program.”
Booth was a football, baseball and track star in high school. The Blue Jays drafted Booth out of high school to play baseball in the 34th round in 1993, but he chose to play football at Southern Miss, where he ran for 1,679 yards from 1994-97.
“Growing up, I wanted to be a football player,” Booth said. “I decided to stick with football and ride it out. I like the way it has turned out and here I am now ready for this new part in the game.”