The Chris Collins to Northwestern train picked up steam yesterday, as it was widely reported that the school met with its leading candidate on Monday night. When Bill Carmody was first fired, I was told that basically the only thing that would stand between Collins and the head coaching spot at NW would be if something fell apart in contract negotiations. The Board of Trustees has been notoriously tough to deal with in the past, but the university’s athletic programs have received nearly $70 Million over the last year and the school announced that it would be building a new Athletics/Recreation Complex on campus this past September. Since there are still such good vibes surfacing after their meeting, it appears no snags were encountered and things should move fairly quickly from this point forward.
This is a critical time for the university to make a coaching hire and Coach Collins is roundly regarded as the best available coach for the position. His qualifications would make him a fit for nearly every open college coaching position, but especially one in the Chicago area.
Collins has spent the last 13 years in an assistant/associate coach position at one of the most elite college programs in America
From his bio: Collins’ 12-year resume at Duke includes an overall record of 356-72, eight ACC Tournament championships, four ACC regular season titles, seven in-season tournament titles and most importantly, national championships in 2001 and 2010.
He not only assisted Collins at Duke, but also for the USA Olympic team where he had the opportunity to work with some of the world’s best professional basketball players. Those relationships will serve him well in networking (recruiting and hiring assistants).
Speaking of recruiting, Collins was instrumental in getting Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, Jon Scheyer and others to come to Duke. He is from the Chicago area and his ties there will serve him well as he hopes to keep players in the city.
He comes from a basketball family, and his dad Doug Collins (Philadelphia 76ers head coach) has always been a valuable resource for Chris to lean on. There are reports that Doug could join Chris on the bench if the situation becomes available.
Northwestern is not an easy school to get players admitted into. While he has had the pick of elite players at Duke, there are certain standards of admission at the school that don’t allow them to go after every player they’d like to. NU is in a similar situation.
Collins has been at Duke 13 seasons. Duke has been to the NCAA Tournament each of those years, gone to ten Sweet Sixteens, three Final Fours and won two National Titles. Northwestern has had a basketball program for 75 years and has yet to be in the NCAA Tournament one time.
Just getting the Wildcats to the tournament would put Collins on a pedestal at the school and likely secure his employment for years to come.
Expect the news to come sometime this week, if not today, that Chris Collins will be introduced as Northwestern’s head coach. Duke has been fortunate to have him for 13 years as a coach and four as a player but it is clearly his time to run a program on his own.
image via DukeBluePlanet
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