Home is where the heart is, isn’t it? Troy Collavo played linebacker for UTEP’s Miners from 2003-06. As a senior he led the league in tackles. The antithesis of a “dumb jock”, he used his physical talent and sharp mind to his advantage on the field, putting himself in the right place to rack up 125 tackles. As a junior he anchored the linebacking corps that helped the Miners to an 8 win season, and a trip to the GMAC Bowl.
He was given a shot with the Chicago Bears, and had offers to play with a couple of teams in the Canadian Football League, but decided not to pursue those. With his degree in Marketing, he made his way out to California. There he lived with fellow Miner Joe Fleskoski, and spent a year working for a marketing firm.
He returned to Texas and taught computers and coached football at AC Jones High School in Beeville. It was there that he realized that coaching was what he wanted to do.
“Football is easy for me, and it’s the thing I think I’m good at. Being able to pass on things to the kids, that I can help their situation, hopefully make them good ball players, then I hope I can do that.”
About six months ago, he contacted Coach Mike Price about coming back to UTEP to work with the football team. He is now the Defensive Program Coordinator, and has been reunited with Linebackers Coach Robert Rodriguez.
“Funny thing is, he was my mentor whenever I was playing here and he is kind of in the same role again. It seems like everything has come full circle.”
Asked about working with the Miners, he spoke of his return to El Paso.
“It’s just a good opportunity to come back to El Paso. I kind of got the El Paso curse. They told me when I came here that once you live here you always come back. It’s good that El Paso is having me back. I feel like El Paso did a lot for me and it’s time for me to do something for El Paso. I’ve lived here for six years, and that’s about a fourth of my life, so El Paso is home for me.”
As with all coaches, they have to keep a bag packed. Coaches have to have a little gypsy in their blood as there is one constant in their lives and that is that there will almost always be change. Young coaches, working their way up, must go where the opportunities present themselves. But, if Troy could have his way he would love to spend the next 10 or 20 years here.
“I love this city. It was good to me, and I just hope I can do the same.”
Welcome home, Troy.