Chris Collins is doing impressive things at Northwestern.
The first-year head coach has flipped the script on the season, turning a scuffling group of Wildcats into winners in five of the last seven games. That includes wins in three consecutive Big Ten road games for the first time since the 1960s.
Collins joined SportsTalk Live on Friday to discuss the turnaround, and he talked about how rewarding this remarkable stretch has been for him.
"It's been very rewarding," Collins told CSN's David Kaplan. "It's very hard, and there's not a job in America that isn't hard. But to have those moments when you see a Drew Crawford smiling ear to ear after a big win at Wisconsin or you see Tre Demps jumping for joy after hitting a big shot and winning a big game, that's what makes it all worth it because we all put a lot of time in, we work really hard. There's a lot of pressure on these guys to perform. We've had our ups and downs, and to be able to go through this stretch where we've had some good wins and to see there confidence grow and for us to be as close-knit of a group as we are and to really fight through this stretch and the rest of the year, it's been fun to be a part of and very rewarding for me to see these guys get better."
Part of Collins' tough task in Evanston is to bring relevance to a program that's never made an appearance in the NCAA tournament. But this recent period of success is doing just that.
"It always helps when there's results, and for me coming in, a lot of what you're trying to talk about is a vision, what you want the program to be, the heights we'd like to take the program with wins and to be relevant nationally, competitive in our league year in and year out. And the only way to truly get that point across is results," Collins said. "So for our guys to be able to play the way they've played and for us to do it here in Chicago, that's what you've got to love. We're in the best city in the world and the best basketball town in the world. So when you can show signs of improvement and people see how hard our guys are playing, I think people take notice of that and then they know we're on the right track. And certainly we're a long way from where we want to be and where we need to be, but to have the progress we've made and to have the level of success we've had the last couple weeks, it shows that things are on the right path."
Watch the rest of the interview with the Northwestern head coach above.