“Cape Proud” of our very own Bill Collick
Cape Henlopen High School football coach and Dean of Students Bill Collick has been linked to the Cape Henlopen School District since the district’s inception. In fact, Coach Collick graduated in 1970 and he was part of the first graduating class of the newly unified district.
Coach Collick fondly recalls the very first years of the much larger district now called the Cape Henlopen School District. Some people were worried that placing students from rural Milton, Rehoboth and Lewes in one high school would cause tension and problems; however, the young Collick who lived in Lewes instantly bonded with Milton students like Fred Sposato who then became not only Collick’s college roommate but a lifelong friend.
Collick’s words to describe the new district are simple and eloquent, “it was a really grand idea of forward thinking-the coming together of three towns now made Cape competitive both academically and athletically as a District.”
Coach Collick’s wife, Nancy Gooch also graced the halls of the new Cape Henlopen High School; she graduated in the class of 1972.
After graduating from CHHS, Collick attended Weselly College but he finished his education at University of Delaware. He quickly returned to Cape and accepted a job teaching Physical Education at Rehoboth Elementary School.
He immediately began coaching the Cape Henlopen Football team as well. It was here that he established a core of coaches that he has coached with throughout his career. Coach peppers many of his memories with the inclusion of fellow coach William “Herky” Billings, who has been coaching with him since the beginning of his career.
Coach Collick then made a huge leap and accepted a position to coach football for the then floundering Delaware State football team. Here, with his core team of coaches that came with him, Collick built a series of winning football teams. Under his direction, the team won the conference in 1985 and then won four more championships subsequently. He had ten consecutive years of players entering the NFL either via the draft or free agency.
After building a solid program at Delaware State for twenty years, he was enticed to coach the then lifeless program at Sussex Tech in 2000; he quickly got the team to the play-offs and was again lured away by a job not in the field of education.
However, right before he was supposed to embark on his new career, Dr. Robinson the interim superintendent at Cape had a conversation with him about the district and how desperately he was needed back at his alma mater. The decision for Coach Collick was easy, in 2010 he returned to Cape with a deep core of coaches whom he had bonded with over the years. In fact, his own son joined the coaching ranks with him at Cape.
Detailed by Coach Collick, this was a turning point in Cape history; the newly minted Principal Brian Donahue brought fresh leadership and discipline to the high school. It was the new staff and administration which included Coach Collick who were determined to make Cape a shining example of a Delaware public school. Coach Collick is emphatic about the fact that “people entrust you with their kids, their most precious commodity and it is our job to give them better back”.
It was this philosophy that created a new environment at the high school, an environment of discipline and academic rigor –which is evident throughout the school today. Coach Collick reflects the sentiments of many staff members in the CHSD district, “We are now the school of choice and this is due to our commitment, our hard work, our energy and our effort.”
Over the years, Coach Collick has used football as a tool to foster our young people, “Football teaches life lessons and it teaches kids how to prepare, it is about building and revealing character and helping young people grow.”
Coach Collick is an exceptional example of the “Cape Proud” sentiment I consistently mention. After spending some time with Coach, I know that anyone who has an opportunity to interact with Coach Collick is lucky to have met this fine individual who has committed countless energy and effort to the district.
Please visit our Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation (CHEF) website at www.chef-cape.org to learn more about CHEF’s educational partnership with the Cape school district. We invite the entire Cape community to help us achieve our mission of preparing students for a healthy, productive life in a diverse and global society.