All signs point to Duke assistant Chris Collins becoming Northwestern’s next head basketball coach as soon as this week – perhaps even before the Blue Devils play their Sweet 16 game against Michigan State this Friday. Why the rush? Well, two reasons: First, According to the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein, who spoke with an “industry source” on the matter, hiring Collins would be a smart way for Northwestern to “generate added exposure.” Added incentive comes from Greenstein's tweet this afternoon indicating Minnesota -- who fired Tubby Smith yesterday -- has expressed interest in the Duke assistant.
Outside of Collins -- whose interview with school officials went “so well” Monday, per Greenstein's article -- at least three other interviews for the head coaching vacancy have been conducted, according to reports. Greenstein cites Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen, Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew, La Salle’s John Giannini and Lehigh’s Brett Reed as other candidates that met with school officials.
Among the potential benefits of hiring Collins, according to Greenstein’s report, is his familiarity with recruiting “academic achievers” as well as his soft, if nonexistent, immediate demands for a facilities upgrade. From Greenstein’s story:
Sources told the Tribune that among the plusses on Collins’ side are that he will not insist the school tear down or renovate Welsh-Ryan Arena, at least not immediately. Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium is hardly a palace.
And given that he has recruited academic achievers, Collins will not push the school’s provost to make “exceptions.”
Another important update on the Collins front today: Greenstein, as plugged-in a Northwestern source as there is, shot down the possibility raised in a Sun-Times story last week that father and current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins could be joining his son on the Northwestern sidelines.
We will have more updates as this story develops. The message is clear for now: unless anything changes, expect Duke assistant Chris Collins to be manning the Northwestern bench, at least contractually, sooner rather than later.
Update: Tuesday night, Greenstein brought word that Northwestern and Collins may have already put pen to ink, with an official announcement on Collins' hiring expected to come "as early as Wednesday." Per The Trib:
Northwestern has identified its “basketball Fitz” and could announce the hiring of Duke associate head coach Chris Collins as early as Wednesday.
Sources told the Tribune that Collins met Monday with NU officials, and the interview went well enough that the two sides worked Tuesday to finalize a deal.