Fellow coaches recommend NU candidate Collins

Fellow coaches recommend NU candidate Collins

March 21, 2013, 10:15 pm
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In the immediate wake of Bill Carmody being fired by Northwestern, rumors of potential replacements for the role of head men's basketball coach were already centered around one name -- Duke associate head coach Chris Collins.

The Northbrook, Ill. native as served on Mike Krzyzewski's coaching staff since 2000, after a playing career with the Blue Devils that saw him named team captain for his senior year. With Duke set to begin their NCAA tournament run against Albany on Friday, it's likely his focus is elsewhere at the moment.

Yet Collins has plenty of fellow coaches who are willing to speak to his qualifications. That group includes the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, Doug Collins, who also happens to be his father.

“Over the last couple years Chris’ name has been floated out there a little more," said Collins, "The beauty of it is at Duke you are so used to dealing with so much stuff.

"Last year there were a couple situations that opened up that he was interested in. He is ready to do that so hopefully he will get a chance somewhere because I think he is going to be a terrific coach.”

Notre Dame men's basketball head coach Mike Brey hasn't known Collins quite as long as his father has, but was on the Duke coaching staff that recruited him as a player. He offered his blanket approval of the idea of Collins helming a program.

"I think he would be very ready to be a head coach," said Brey, "and he'd be very ready to be a head coach at the Big Ten level."

[Kap: Collins an ideal candidate for Northwestern job]

In particular, Brey sees Collins as a good match for a program like Northwestern, which is still seeking its first NCAA tournament bid in school history.

"When you're taking over a program and you want to rebuild or try and get it to places it's never gone, you need great energy," Brey said. "And he has that."

The way 76ers assistant coach Brian James sees it, the only reason Collins is not already a head coach is that he's comfortable enough at Duke to wait for the perfect fit.

James also coached Collins at Glenbrook North when he won 1992 Illinois Mr. Basketball award. 

"It's been long overdue," said James. "His attention to detail is second to none. I think he's more than qualified to be not only a head coach, but a successful and very great head coach."

With a father who has coached four NBA teams, the professional pedigree is obviously there for Collins, but James wasn't quite willing to agree to a 'like father, like son' assessment of the two men's coaching styles.

"He's got his dad's drive...he's a perfectionist, like his father is, but he's got his mother's calming influence."

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