In 1958, the game of football made its debut on the St. Dunstan’s campus, and Gil Collins was at the helm of the fledgling Saints. The 6'1" 180-pound quarterback from Regina led the Saints to instant and surprising respectability, serving as both Field Marshall and Assistant Coach to A.J. MacAdam. Collins brought experience with Canadian football from Saskatchewan to the SDU campus, where rugby had been the only form of football for generations.
The first years of a new sport can be lean ones, but that was not the case with football. In their first season, the SDU squad was successful in their exhibition games, and placed third in the League, quite an accomplishment for a group of rookies in a new sport.
In the 1959 season, the SDU squad directed by Collins won the title, beating Mount Allison 39–1 in the championship game. The accounts of the game detail how “Collins smoothly manipulated his squad into scoring position again and again....” They also beat St. Mary’s and Acadia that year, while losing to Mount A.
In 1960 the Atlantic University Football League was established, and for the next two seasons the SDU squad continued to achieve success. In 1960 St. Dunstan’s won the “Little” Purdy Cup, emblematic of the championship of the “B” division of the League. In 1961 the SDU football squad continued to advance, playing the juggernaut from St. Francis Xavier to a standstill, losing just 9–7, with Collins “a dominating presence,” according to an eyewitness account.
The SDU Red & White described Collins as “a smooth ball handler and a cool head, he is the main driving force behind the Saints....” Collins was a two-sport star, also playing an effective role with the SDU basketball team during his University years.