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Vai's View: Vai's View: Like father, like sons

Published: Friday, Feb. 3 2012 2:44 p.m. MST

Scott Collie taught his sons Zach, Austin and Dylan how to catch a ball, and now he's working to teach other kids the same thing.

Like father, like son.

In Scott Collie's case, make that sons. Youngest son Dylan will complete the trifecta as the last of the three Collie boys to follow their dad to play at BYU when he arrives at the Provo campus this fall after signing a letter of intent on Wednesday.

It would be enough for most to have one son play Division I football, but to sire THREE is remarkable. The most famous of those sons, Austin, became the most prolific receiver in BYU history. Austin Collie holds school records for career receiving yards, touchdowns and is second in receptions — in only THREE years — before bolting early for the NFL, where he's become a star in Indianapolis.

Incredibly, all of Scott and Nicci Collie's kids have made it to college on sports scholarships. The youngest child, Cameron, is only 12 and may get there yet. Daughter Taylore was good enough to play golf for the Utah Valley University women's team in Orem. She quit after her sophomore year to marry and move with her husband, Trenson Akana, to Hawaii where he was finishing up a master's program at the University of Hawaii and she completed her degree at BYU-Hawaii.

"My dad's an eight handicap," Taylore told me on the phone as she put her two-week newborn down for a nap in their Mililani, Hawaii, home. "He's a great motivator and coach, even in golf because he has a gift for boiling things down, making it simple and then calmly explaining it."

That may be true, but Scott Collie's game is still football. Since the time they could walk, Collie taught his sons Zach, Austin and Dylan how to catch a ball. As they grew older, Collie added little drills that improved their hand-eye coordination. By junior high, they were running precise routes and timing patterns most kids don't learn unless they play D-I football.

The irony is, if Scott Collie had chosen to pursue a coaching career, it's unlikely his boys would've learned the techniques that earned them BYU scholarships. "I doubt I would've had the time to work with my boys had I gone into college or pro coaching," Collie told me. "It was actually LaVell (Edwards) who talked me out of coaching. He probably encouraged some guys into coaching and others out of it depending on our circumstances. I did the right thing but every six years or so, I looked into it. It was never right."

Until now.

For nearly 30 years, Scott Collie worked 9-5 jobs in the technology field, providing his family a good living in California. It allowed him to coach his boys through Little League, Pop Warner and high school. But with his last boy headed to BYU in the fall, Collie decided it was time.

This summer, Collie is opening a receiver's-only camp called Receiver Tech in California and Utah for kids who want to learn what he's taught his three boys.

"This has been my passion and I've wanted to do this for so long but the timing wasn't right until now. It's comprehensive. No matter what offenses kids are playing at their high school, they will learn things that will help them."

Austin Collie is glad his dad didn't pursue coaching but if he had, he believes he would've been among the best. "Dad taught us to recognize things most kids never saw," Austin told me. "He's technical and practical."

Collie employed some friends in constructing this website www.receivertech.com/, which has the kind of endorsements a presidential candidate would crave — men who played with and coached Scott Collie. Steve Young. Jim McMahon. Andy Reid. Mike Holmgren. It's an impressive array of NFL elites.

Using his personal contacts and the horde of college coaches who recruited his sons, most of whom he maintained friendships with, Scott Collie arranged for the top 10 receivers in each of his four summer camps to work as the receivers who will run routes and catch passes at the prestigious Elite 11 quarterback camps in California.

Collie and his older sons, Zach and Austin, will work the camps but Dylan may not because they don't want to risk jeopardizing NCAA rules. If Dylan is cleared, however, he will also help out.

As an 18-year-old BYU freshman, Scott Collie never imagined that catching footballs at BYU would have such a dramatic effect on his life.

"Recently, my wife and I were driving to Utah from California with two of our married kids and their children," Scott told me. "About 2 a.m., I'm driving on a lonely stretch of I-80 and I looked in the rearview mirror to see Austin, his wife Brooke and their baby; my pregnant daughter Taylore and her husband Trenson, all asleep in the backseat. I started thinking about the first time I drove to Utah to enroll at BYU. I was a non-LDS kid who went to an all-boys parochial high school in California with no idea of what was ahead of me. That was a powerful and emotional moment for me."

All because Scott Collie knew how to catch footballs.

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