Daniel Collie has played only 11 minutes all season for Wright State, but the walk-on guard from Parkersburg, W.Va., has made his mark on the team in other ways.
“He’s a bit of quiet jokester,” coach Billy Donlon said. “Guys are laughing, and he’s the one smirking, so you know he’s the one telling the joke. You need that on a team.”
Collie seemed a bit surprised to be described as the team comic, but he admitted he likes to joke around and keep everyone loose in an often stressful environment.
Asked if he did an impression of Donlon, Collie said, “I feel like everybody has their own impression of coach Donlon. I don’t think anyone does one in front of him, but everyone has one. Everybody’s good, but I can’t say who’s the best.”
Donlon heard Matt Vest does a good one, but also said, “I don’t think any of them have the nerve to do it in front of me.”
Collie was originally going to attend a Division II school in North Carolina, Belmont Abbey, but its coach left for a different job, and the very next day, Collie got a call from Wright State assistant coach Chris Moore.
“My dad knew coach Moore growing up, and coach Moore played for my grandfather (at Kentucky State),” Collie said. “I decided it was a sign I should come to Wright State. I immediately loved it. I loved all my teammates. So far this season, I can’t complain about anything. I’m just having a great time.”
Collie averaged 16.8 points per game as a senior at Parkersburg Catholic. He was named to the Class A All-State team and played in the North-South All-Star Game last June.
Collie would have had a better chance getting playing time at the Division II level, but another reason he chose to come to Wright State was he wants to get into coaching.
“After my four years here, I feel like I can go someplace as a graduate assistant, maybe even stay here,” he said. “It’s a totally different level from playing at a small high school in West Virginia. You’ve got to learn quick. I feel I’ve picked it up pretty well, and I’m looking forward to what I can do in the future.”
Collie has to give it his all in practice every day.
“You can’t take a play off against these guys,” he said, “because they’ll just make you look silly.”
Swimming: Wright State had 11 first-place finishes in a meet at Xavier on Saturday, but the men’s team lost 114-90 and the women lost 113-91.
Winners for the men’s team were: Pawel Grzebala, 1,000 free; John Vigar, 100 and 200 free; Matt Dassow, 500 free; and Davynn Peffer, 100 breast.
Justyna Hampel led the women’s team with wins in the 100, 200 and 1,000. Kayla Fearrin won the 400 individual medley and 100 breast. The 200 medley relay team of Sammi Miller, Kristen Hayhow, Nicki Holtkamp and Sarah Weidner also won.
The teams finish the regular season Saturday at the WSU Natatorium against Cincinnati. It’s the final home meet for nine seniors.
The Horizon League championships are Feb. 27-March 2 in Chicago.