The future is set. They’ve got their man.
Athletic director Jim Phillips moved quickly since firing Bill Carmody, and he was able to hire his main target, Duke associate head coach Chris Collins. So, who is the new Northwestern coach?
Collins grew up in Northbrook, Illinois, which is just north of Evanston. The 38-year-old is the son of current Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins. At Glenbrook North High School, he was a McDonald’s All American, and like many Mike Krzyzewski assistants, he was a player for the Blue Devils.
He’s been an assistant under Krzyzewski since 2000, but he was named associate head coach in 2008. Since he’s been with the program, it has won two national championships and produced many great backdoor players (whom Collins primarily worked with) like All Americans Jay Williams and J.J. Redick.
However, his help with Krzyzewski wasn’t just limited to Duke. From 2006 to 2012, he also assisted in coaching and scouting the USA Basketball Senior National Team, a period that is marked by two Olympic gold medals and a FIBA World Championship.
Northwestern’s past recruiting struggles were definitely taken into account in the hiring of Collins, because he has a lot of experience in the Chicago area. During his time with Duke, he was key to bringing in several Illinois natives like Sean Dockery, Jon Scheyer, and Jabari Parker. His recruiting prowess has made him an attractive candidate for several coaching positions, including Minnesota’s head coaching job, so Northwestern will be glad to have sealed the deal.
With this recruiting success will come many early expectations. First, fans will want him to find a way to keep Jaren Sina, one of the most highly-touted recruits in Northwestern’s history. After Carmody’s firing, he was released from his letter of intent, but he has still expressed interest in coming to Evanston.
Overall, Collins is seen as a young, energetic coach who Phillips hopes will lead the program for many years. As seen with Carmody, nothing less than the NCAA Tournament is acceptable. Collins must know that coming in, and he is willing to take that risk.