At halftime during the Wildcats win over Portland State, Weber State honored one of the school’s all time greats. Bruce Collins, who played for the team from 1976 to 1980, became the second player in team history to have his number retired.
Collins holds five school records at Weber State, his most notable being the career scoring leader with 2,019 points in his four years.
When Collins came to the school in 1976, he was joined by three other freshmen: Richard Smith, Mark Mattos and David Johnson, who came to be known as “McCarthy’s Kids” by coach Neil McCarthy. They were all on hand to honor Collins at the basketball game.
In their four seasons as a group, they had one of the most successful runs in school history. Those Wildcats won two Big Sky titles, three Big Sky tournament titles and they went to the NCAA tournament three times.
For the unveiling of the number 22 banner for Collins, he was surrounded on the court by his friends, family and teammates.
Collins said, “It feels good cause my teammates are here, family was here, all awesome.”
Jersey number retirements are a unique honor for players. While most ceremonies are for teams and championships, this is a solely individual award. It is meant to showcase the greatness of the Wildcats’ all-time scorer, not just on this night, but for the rest of Weber State history.
“Getting an individual award like this, overwhelming,” said Collins.
Amid the stories and memories from all the players, there was pride, not only for Bruce, but for the team as a whole. Especially the legacy they left at Weber State.
David Johnson, the forward out of California and another of McCarthy’s Kids, was also there to celebrate his teammate and friend.
“Bruce was a great teammate—we had a special team,” said Johnson.
This was in reference to not only the great four years they had, but especially the 1979 to 1980 team. That year was Collins’ senior season and the Wildcats went 26-3 with an 18-game win streak in the middle of the season.
That year Weber State was also ranked as high as 15th in the country, the highest ranking in school history. After that season ended with a loss in the NCAA tournament against Lamar University at the Dee Events Center, Collins went on to play professionally.
After being drafted in the second round of the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers, he went on to play in Asia for three years. Once his playing career was done, he returned to his home of Rock Springs, Wyoming where he was eventually inducted into the Wyoming Hall of Fame.
This jersey retirement was about his collegiate career, though. Bruce Collins not only attended Weber State, but left a lasting legacy.
As coach Randy Rahe said, “He’s a Weber State legend. Wow, he’s a terrific player.”