Chris Collins will remain with the Duke University basketball team for as long as it lasts in the NCAA tournament, he told reporters on Wednesday night. After that, the son of Sixers coach Doug Collins will move on to a job his dad said he was born ready for.
The younger Collins will take over as head coach of the Northwestern University basketball team in Evanston, Ill., it was announced Wednesday night. In jumping from perennial national power Duke, where he played his college ball, Chris Collins takes over a program that has never been to the NCAA tournament.
“I know that Chris is very excited about the opportunity,” Doug Collins said. “I know Northwestern is committed to putting a good basketball [team] out on the court.
Chris Collins has been training for the opportunity to be a basketball coach his entire life. Born in April of 1974 when his dad was in his rookie season with the Sixers, Chris Collins has been around basketball his entire life. Some of his early playmates were the children of his dad’s teammates, like Joe Bryant’s son, Kobe.
When injuries ended the elder Collins’ career, Chris was ever present when his dad coached the Bulls and Pistons or worked as a broadcaster for TNT and NBC. Still, Doug Collins thought his son might have learned the most when it was just the two of them sitting on the couch at home to watch games on TV. There are very few men on the planet with as much basketball knowledge and experience as Doug Collins, and Chris was the benefactor of many a private tutoring session.
Now is the time for Chris Collins to strike out on his own after serving as an assistant for his former collegiate coach, Hall-of-Famer Mike Krzyzewski.
“He’s at a stage of his career where he’s ready to be a head coach,” Doug Collins said. “Last year there were a couple situations that opened up that he was interested in. He’s ready to do that. I think he’s going to be a terrific coach.”
Chris Collins will have his work cut out for him at Northwestern. After four straight trips to the NIT, Northwestern went 13-19 this past season with a roster featuring four seniors. However, Northwestern has three freshmen returning next season that range in height from 6-foot-10 to 7-foot-2. Plus, as an Illinois and suburban Chicago native, Chris Collins will have the knowledge for recruiting at Northwestern.
And then he’ll always know where to turn for advice, too. Doug Collins was just 35 years old when he took over as a rookie head coach for the Chicago Bulls in 1986. His son is a little older and has a lot more coaching experience heading into his first job than his dad did.
Then again, Doug had a pretty good player named Michael Jordan when he was a rookie coach.