BILLINGS — It was an eventful couple days for Montana State legend Bill Kollar.
On Monday, it was reported that Kollar, an assistant coach in the college and NFL ranks since 1984, is retiring. Later it was announced that Kollar has been selected for induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. The latter announcement was made by the National Football Foundation.
A native of Warren, Ohio, Kollar, 70, played defensive line at Montana State from 1971-73. He had long been considered a candidate for the college hall and finally broke through as part of the class of 2023.
"There is no one more fitting for MSU's first player induction, as Bill is one of four Bobcat players to have their number retired in Bobcat Stadium after a storied college career, the highest draft pick in Bobcat history, and had a great career in the NFL as a player and coach," Montana State athletic director Leon Costello said in a press release. "From all of us at Bobcat Athletics, we wish Bill a very special congratulations."
Kollar joins ex-Bobcat Dennis Erickson in the college hall. Erickson was inducted in 2019 in the coaching category.
As a defensive tackle at MSU, Kollar was a three-time first-team all Big Sky selection, a two-time All-American and the league's defensive MVP in 1972 when he helped lead the the team to the conference championship. Kollar was the first defensive player to win MVP honors at the Senior Bowl in 1974.
His No. 77 is retired by the Bobcats, joining Don Hass (No. 21), his former coach Sonny Holland (No. 52) and Jan Stenerud (No. 78). According to MSU, Kollar was the first lineman and second defensive player in league history to earn all-conference honors three times.
“Coach Kollar is a Bobcat through and through and I’ve been so appreciative of his support the past couple of years,” MSU coach Brent Vigen stated via a press release. “He has experienced an amazing football life and is very deserving of this great honor.”
Kollar was taken in the first round of the 1974 NFL Draft with pick No. 24 by the Cincinnati Bengals. He was an NFL all-rookie selection in 1974, and played for the Bengals through the 1976 season. Kollar finished his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1977-82).
Kollar began his coaching career with the Bucs in 1984 before spending the next three seasons a the University of Illinois. He remained in the college ranks at Purdue (1988-89), then came back to coach defensive line in the NFL for the next 32 years with the Falcons, Rams, Bills, Texans and Broncos. He coached in three Super Bowls, winning a ring with the Broncos in Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season. He held the title of defensive assistant/special projects with Denver during the 2022 season.
Kollar's retirement from coaching was reported by 9News in Denver.
Kollar joins 21 other individuals for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame for 2023. The others are:
Eric Berry, DB, Tennessee (2007-09); Michael Bishop, QB, Kansas State (1997-98); Reggie Bush, RB, Southern California (2003-05); Dwight Freeney, DE, Syracuse (1998-2001); Robert Gallery, OT, Iowa (2000-03); LaMichael James, RB, Oregon (2009-11); Derrick Johnson, LB, Texas (2001-04); Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College (2009-11); Jeremy Maclin, WR/KR, Missouri (2007-08); Terance Mathis, WR, New Mexico (1985-87, 1989); Bryant McKinnie, OT, Miami [FL] (2000-01); Corey Moore, DL, Virginia Tech (1997-99); Michael Stonebreaker, LB, Notre Dame (1986, 1988, 1990); Tim Tebow, QB, Florida (2006-09); Troy Vincent, DB, Wisconsin (1988-91); Brian Westbrook, RB, Villanova (1997-98, 2000-01); DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis (2002-05); Coach Monte Cater, Lakeland (WI) (1981-86), Shepherd (WV) (1987-2017); Coach Paul Johnson, Georgia Southern (1997-2001), Navy (2002-07), Georgia Tech (2008-18); Coach Roy Kramer, Central Michigan (1967-77); Coach Mark Richt, Georgia (2001-15), Miami (FL) (2016-18).