Blanton Long Collier (July 2, 1906 – March 22, 1983) was an American football head coach who coached the University of Kentucky between 1954 and 1961 and the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League (NFL) between 1963 and 1970. His 1964 Browns team won the NFL championship and remains the most recent Cleveland team to win a professional sports title.
Collier grew up in Paris, Kentucky and attended Paris High School. After graduating from Georgetown College, he returned to his old high school to teach and coach sports for 16 years. Collier left the position to join the U.S. Navy in 1943 during World War II. At a naval base outside of Chicago he met Paul Brown, who was coaching a service football team there. After the war, Brown hired Collier as an assistant coach for the Browns, a team under formation in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC). After seven years as Brown's top aide, a span over which the Cleveland team won five league championships, Collier took a job as head football coach at the University of Kentucky in 1954. His Kentucky Wildcats teams amassed a 41–36–3 win-loss-tie record over eight seasons.
Collier was fired after the 1961 season and Brown re-hired him as an assistant. Art Modell, the owner of the Browns, then fired Brown in 1963 and gave the head coaching job to Collier. Under Collier, the Browns reached the NFL championship game four times and won once, in 1964. Struggling with hearing loss, Collier retired after the 1970 season, although he remained a scout and quarterbacks coach for several more years. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1976 and retired to Texas, where he died in 1983. Collier was well-liked by players and renowned as a good sportsman and student of the game. The Kentucky chapter of the NFL Players Association in 2007 established the Blanton Collier Award in his honor. The Paris High School football field is named after him.
By Dean Hanley
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