Former Schools Superintendent Collinsworth Passes Away

By  //  October 17, 2012

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DIstinguished Educator And Athlete

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Former Brevard Public Schools Superintendent Abe Collinsworth has passed away at the age of 76.

Abe Collinsworth, who led Brevard Public Scbools as superintendent from 1988 to 1994, has died at the age of 76 in Orlando. (Image courtesy

He served as superintendent of schools in Brevard from 1988 until his retirement in 1994.

Collinsworth began teaching in Brevard County in 1963 and also served as a school counselor, vice-principal and was the first principal of Astronaut High School in Titusville when it opened in 1972.

Growing up as a high school basketball star in Kentucky, Collinsworth was a prolific scorer who earned a scholarship to play for legendary college coach Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky.

He was a member of the Kentucky Wildcats “Fiddling Five” that won the NCAA national championship under Rupp in 1958.

His interest in basketball began as a small child when Collinsworth went to see the Harlem Globtrotters play.

Reportedly, he told his family that he went right home and started spinning a basketball on his finger. His love of the game persisted throughout his life and even into his 50s, Collinsworth could dunk the ball in pickup games with friends.

While at the University of Kentucky, he met his future wife, Donetta Browning, who also became a teacher.

The couple had two sons, Greg and Cris, who each attended Astronaut High School when their father was the principal there.

His son Cris went on to become a NCAA All-American receiver for the University of Florida football team and later enjoyed a stellar pro career while playing in three Super Bowls for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Abe Collinsworth was played on the University of Kentucky’s 1958 NCAA basketball championship team for legendary coach Adolph Rupp. (Image courtesy University of Kentucky)

Collinsworth, who was named after President Abraham Lincoln as they shared the same birthday, became the Brevard Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Personnel before being named superintendent.

He presided over a period of tremendous growth for the school system and led Brevard Schools to perennial high marks among Florida schools in mathematics, reading and science.

Collinsworth was preceded in death by his son, Greg, and is survived by his wife, Donetta; son, Cris and daughter-in-law Holly Collinsworth and their four children Katie, Austin, Ashley and Jac and brothers Tim and Ham Collinsworth and sister Wandaleen Bailey.

A memorial service will be held at the Woodlawn Funeral Home on Woodlawn Cemetery Road in Gotha will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday for Collinsworth, who died Saturday in Orlando.

The family is requesting donations may be sent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 3319 Maguire Blvd., Orlando, FL 32803 in lieu of flowers.