The passing of a United States snooker legend
The United States Snooker Association (USSA) regrets to announce that Tom Kollins, the record equaling five-time United States National Snooker Champion and legend in the history of the sport in the United States, passed away yesterday at the age of 84.
Thomas Kalinowski, known in the snooker world as Tom Kollins, won the inaugural United States National Snooker Championship back in 1991 and he successfully defended the title the following year.After losing in the final of the 1994 Championship, Tom went onto regain his crown in 1998 and defended his title in 1999.It was at the 2000 Championship that Tom started a life-long friendship with Ajeya Prabhakar who defeated him in the final, though Tom vowed to gain revenge the following year and that is exactly what he did as he inflicted a crushing 5-0 defeat on Prabhakar in the 2001 final to claim his fifth and final Championship title.”I first met Tom when I played my first National Championship back in 2000, and we had been extremely close ever since,” said Prabhakar.Kollins had been an active player representing the United States on the international snooker scene for many years, and was a very recognizable and popular figure wherever he played around the world.In recent years Kollins had served on the Board of the USSA as Vice-President and played an important role alongside Prabhakar, the current serving President of the USSA.Prabhakar added: “He was a legend of snooker in the United States, and a true ambassador for our game for the longest time. Everywhere I go I’m always asked about Tom.”He’s a major loss to our sport and will really be sadly missed. I wish strength upon Tom’s family and friends.”In a statement to the USSA from Kollins’s daughter, Anita, she commented about the loss of her father:”Tom was a father of 7 children: Joseph, Thomas, Rita, Daniel, Anita, Bonita, and Theresa; Grandfather of 20; and Great Grandfather to 25.”I was fortunate enough, with the help of my sibling Tom, to take care of my father during his final six months of life as he battled prostate cancer. The time spent with him, though sometimes hard, is something I will never regret and will always cherish. I learned a lot about my father during this time, we both loved snooker and watched it a lot. In fact, he was listening to a snooker game as he passed. He loved the game and made a lot of great friends all over the world. He will be greatly missed by many.”In a statement from Kollins’s son Thomas, he said:”We are as a family very fortunate to have a wonderful father figure like him and very proud of him for what he has taught us in life and on the snooker table. He has been a first-class coach. We miss him already.”The USSA will be paying a much more in-depth tribute to Kollins in the coming days, as the association remembers the life of such a towering figure in the history of the organization and the sport in the United States.