Northwestern has a new coach: Duke Blue Devils assistant Chris Collins. Collins was the top choice of Athletic Director Jim Phillips. Collins was rumored to be Bill Carmody’s replacement as far back as last year. Chris Collins is a local guy so this is a homecoming. He’s from the North Shore, his Dad is former Chicago Bulls coach and current Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins.
And as a player, he was the state of Illinois “Mr. Basketball” and a McDonald’s All-American as a prep at Glenbrook North high school. Chris Collins is also a skilled recruiter. When Bruce Weber was at the height of his powers with the Illini, he went after a blue-chip prospect at Glenbrook North named Jon Scheyer; who was coached in high school by Dave Weber, Bruce’s brother. As you obviously know, Chris Collins was instrumental in getting Scheyer to leave the state and family allegiance behind, and come to Durham. Scheyer was a big star of the Duke Blue Devils 2010 National title team.
The associate head coach, Chris Collins will continue to coach with the Blue Devils until they finish the postseason. Hopefully, that comes Friday night in a Sweet sixteen match-up versus Michigan State. CBS Sports was the first to make the Chris Collins hire official.
And why was CBS the first to call it today? Because now CBS has an added reason for people in Chicago, the third ranked television market, to watch the game: Chicago guy (Collins) coaches perhaps his final game under a Chicago born coach (Mike Krzyzewski), before taking over a Chicago program. Brilliant marketing.
NU will hold a press conference once the Dukies are eliminated.
It’s pretty rare that to having a coaching change announced while a team is still alive in the NCAA tournament. Collins will move from one very high academic standards program to another elite institution with very high academic standards.
Some things Chris Collins needs to do immediately:
-get the rare tip flight recruits who can fit those very high academic standards, just like he did with Duke
-Attendance is very poor; especially among the students. He needs to win hearts and minds soon
-Retain top scorer Drew Crawford for another season, if the NCAA grants him a medical hardship year.
-Retain top recruit Jaren Sina; one of the highest rated recruits in Northwestern history. The NU commit has re-opened his recruiting.
Paul M. Banks is founder of The Sports Bank.net. He also contributes regularly to MSN, Fox Sports , Chicago Now, Walter Football.com and Yardbarker Also An author, Banks has appeared on the History Channel, as well as Clear Channel, ESPN and CBS radio all over the world. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@PaulMBanks)