After yet another disappointing season at the helm of the Northwestern’s men’s basketball, it appears that Chris Collins will get at least one more shot to turn things around.
In a Monday afternoon statement, NU Director of Athletics and Recreation Dr. Derrick Gragg, who began his term in Evanston less than a year ago, announced that, after a conversation with Collins, he has tasked him “with making necessary changes to build towards success in the 2022-23 campaign,” suggesting that Collins will remain the Wildcats’ head coach for the time being. The announcement comes after enhanced scrutiny of Collins and the NU program following the ‘Cats’ fifth-consecutive losing season.
“At the conclusion of a challenging season, I share in the disappointment felt by our staff and avid fans,” said Gragg in the five-sentence-long statement. “As our Wildcats enter the offseason, we are committed to evaluating all aspects of the program on and off the court to ensure we are supporting this team with the foundation necessary to compete and win in the nation’s best college basketball conference.”
Collins became a fan favorite upon leading the Wildcats to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017. Following Northwestern’s exit from the Big Dance after a Round of 32 loss to Gonzaga, Collins was extended by then-AD Jim Phillips through the 2024-25 season with a salary in excess of $3 million according to the Chicago Tribune.
Since that moment, however, his tenure has soured as his program has failed to come close to reaching the sport’s biggest stage again. The Wildcats haven’t finished above .500 since Collins was extended. Their 15-16 record to end the 2021-22 campaign, which was solidified with a season-ending 112-76 loss in the Big Ten Tournament to eventual-champion No. 16 Iowa, was their best since the tourney appearance. In the five-year stretch since NU’s trip to the Big Dance, the ‘Cats have gone 60-90 overall and a dismal 26-71 against conference opponents.