|Year:||Class of 2013|
Collett, who went on to play 11 years of professional football, was a late bloomer. As a high school freshman at Tamalpais High School, he was 5’6” and 118 pounds until an unusually powerful growth spurt that would boost him nine inches by the time he graduated, resulted in knee problems. He had to undergo two knee surgeries during his junior year, each one requiring leg braces. By the time he was a senior, he was a strapping 6’3” and 205 pounds.
Collett followed some friends to College of Marin and joined the football team in what turned out to be a heyday of team enthusiasm. The team played before packed bleachers, a standing room only crowd with people filling up the sidelines.
“We had some of the best athletes in the county and after the game there would always be a dance.” There were tug of war competitions across the creek and everyone went to the campus Hub for sodas and sandwiches.
“If you wanted to find somebody that’s where they’d be,” Collett says. “We had more fun than we should have. It was unbelievable.”
Many of the COM players that year qualified for professional tryouts and were recruited for other college teams. Collett was recruited to play for West Texas State but came home early and attended San Francisco State where he was named to the Far Western Conference All-Star team. In 1966, he was drafted and played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1967 to 1972. He went to the Pro Bowl in 1969. In 1970, he helped the club win the first divisional title in team history. Local journalists dubbed Collett’s unit that year “the Protectors” because they protected their quarterback so effectively. Collett went on to play for the Colts until 1977 when the recurring back injury made it too painful to continue the game. He played in 145 consecutive games in the NFL with Baltimore and the San Francisco 49ers before retiring at 33.
Collett came home to Marin County and joined the Kentfield Fire Department.
“If you‘ve been gifted with something then you just do it — be it sports or singing or whatever,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun.”