Stalking the Chris Collins Announcement

Get ready for an interesting day Northwestern fans.  CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman posted this tweet:

  If it is indeed true, this could shape up to be quite the historic day. We’ll keep the blog lines open here and update news as it comes in to the best of our ability. Well, that didn’t take long. At about 9:10 am ct, Jeff Goodman then posted this:

  I’m also now coming to grips with the fact that the Duke mafia, a group that we as NU fans have long despised, are now merging, in some ways, with Wildcat nation. The good news is that the “name hire” factor is going to cause quite a bit of chatter throughout the rest of March Madness. The tweets, like this one, will be pouring in…

WGN Radio/Comcast Sports Net’s Dave Kaplan has also stated he believes an annoucement will be made later today, but that he expects a press conference early next week, regardless of whether or not Duke is still playing. He also added this data point, which hopefully will be the opening paragraph to a book/film about how NU turned it around, much like Barnett’s story of getting stuck in the press box.

And just in case it wasn’t clear from Dave Kaplan’s earlier communication, he posted this at around 10 am ct:

And with news of local boy done good returning “home” to try and break the second most infamous sports streak in Chicagoland, Chris Collins may get a kick out of Northwestern fans seeing how he is 2Legit2Quit. Especially love Chris’ moves around the 1:50 mark. By the way, if Welsh-Ryan can look like GBN’s crowd in some of these shots, man, will it be fun. Not so fast, my friends At 10:03 am ct, ESPN posted this article attributed to news services that has Andy Katz saying there are still details to be worked out and that an announcement isn’t likely until after Duke’s season is done. Whoa. Specifically:

Duke assistant coach Chris Collins and Northwestern are close to a deal to install him as the Wildcats’ next coach, a source close to the situation told senior writer Andy Katz on Wednesday. reported Collins and Northwestern have agreed to a deal, but the source told’s Katz there were still details to be worked out and an announcement would not be made until after Duke is done playing this season. –, 10:03 am ct

Katz clarified his reporting at about 11:30 a.m. CT. There would be no press conference until after Duke’s season is over, but the announcement could come before then.

Dan Bernstein, a noted WSCR – The Score sports radio host in Chicago and Duke graduate posted this rain-on-the-parade reality check that many of you have already discussed. The bottom line, there are no guarantees with Collins and the Duke coaching tree has a checkered past in terms of translating to future success. We already knew this, but the injection of adrenaline in to the program is sure have all kinds of fan opinions emerging. However, I’m all for energy and excitement, as I really continue to ask “what risk?” What, we go 0-77 in NCAA Tourney appearances? I’m being practical about this as well and I do not expect instant impact.  We’ll be judging this hire in three years with a much clearer picture then we can now. Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, is covering Duke’s Sweet Sixteen game in Indianapolis. They spoke with Mike Krzyzewski after practice and he said it is not a done deal yet.

Wildcat Nation spent a bunch of the afternoon scouring Twitter, newsfeeds and crawls to see whether an announcement had been made on the Chris Collins hiring. Well, no news as of nearly 7pm ct which means this whole scouring process will likely continue tomorrow. It seems immiment and pretty much done, but as a guy who went through this with Tommy Amaker in ’93, you never know.  Neil Hayes of the Sun-Times just tweeted this around 6:30 pm ct:


  • PurpleHayes

    I remain skeptical of Collins, for reasons already mentioned (no head coaching experience, no experience as the underdog, etc.), though in the end I’ll support him 100% because he’ll be our guy. But as for the way the process has played out, if Phillips hires him I’ll be skeptical at first and will work to get over it. Alternatively, if Phillips hires him, as it appears, without interviewing or seriously considering anyone else, I’ll be really disappointed. Obviously we don’t know who Dr. Jim has been talking with, etc., but the media have a pretty good handle, and it looks like name/face recognition are about to give Collins the job unopposed. Man, I hope he’s ready, but I see nothing in his background to suggest Collins is anywhere near prepared to walk into a recruit’s living room who’s barely ready to listen, or walk into W-R with 1500 people in the seats, or….”Good evening, Mr. Sina. My name is Chris Collins, and I’d like to talk with you about your son…”.

    • Actually, I believe we do know he has been interviewing several candidates. We can debate whether or not it was just optics, but several have reported that Paulsen, Giannini, Skinner, and perhaps Reed have been interviewed.

      • cebpd

        it’s just a good strategy to make sure all your bases are covered. Rather interview 5 and get your top then interview 1, not get your top choice, then be SOL

    • GTom

      It sounds from reports like Phillips has already had interviews with at least three or four other prominent candidates and possibly a few more, so I don’t get the sense that he didn’t test the waters. Time will tell if this is the right hire or not, but I do give Phillips kudos for running a very clean process. Either way, the team and the new coach will have my full support for the first couple of years as they try to build the program.

    • CliffG

      Not prepared? 13 seasons under a spotlight with Coach K? Growing up with his father? Even being Mr. BBall in IL. Surely there’s no other Assistant Coach as well prepared.

      • cebpd

        agreed. He’s been under one of the most winningest programs in the past 2 decades. He’s coached in the biggest games, been under one of the best basketball minds the sports has seen. he’s coached tons of NBA talent, been to Final 4’s, won national championships, is young, excitable, and his father is a head coach who i’m sure he can ask for advice when he needs it. This isn’t some assistant whos been around for 5 years, hes spent nearly 2 decade as an assistant, BBALL is all he knows.

        If Collins was THE GREATEST X’S AND O’S COACH OF ALL TIME, do you think he could have beat Indiana and Michigan this year, with Northwestern, even at full strength?

        it’s about getting great players,

        • Alaskawildcat

          Good points. There is a lot to like about this hire even though many of us had reservations about no head coach experience. High risk, high reward very likely.

      • PurpleHayes

        Ask the Hawkeyes how Steve Alford’s almost identical preparation worked out. (And I know Alford is successful now, but I’m focused on Collins’ first head gig, not the next one.) We agree to disagree, and it looks like in about 24 hours I’ll be hoping Collins will be wildly successful, but I’ve learned in business–and this is no different–there is a huge distinction between maintaining something and building something. Collins has been at the right hand of success for 20 years, no doubt about it, but I see no experience of being part of actually building anything. The only way to view the Northwestern job as the “passing of the torch” is to hand the new coach the flaming end! This is a one-brick-at-a-time opportunity. Youth and enthusiasm? Agree, both needed. Grit and ingenuity? Need a ton of that too–but having to take it on faith at the moment.

        • Alum Dad

          I guess if you were Jerry Reinsdorf, you wouldn’t have hired Tom Thibodeau because he had no head coaching experience. Some guys just need an opportunity. Hopefully Chris Collins is ready for prime time.

        • CliffG

          Nothing “identical” about it. Alford didn’t serve even a minute as an assistant to anyone, never mind Coach K. He went from the pros to head coach of a DIII school.

    • Next Cat

      On readiness — while i think it’s a bit unfair to both men to get too carried away w/ the “Collins is the new Fitz” theme, was Fitz any more ready when he became head coach? Look how that’s worked out. There’s an awful lot to be said for youth and enthusiasm — esp. when you’re trying to leave a difficult past behind. But, yeah, inexperience is clearly the flip side of that coin. I just think in both sports and non-sports contexts, experience is too often overrated and youthful enthusiasm and vision are undervalued.

      • cece

        seriously, Fitz is doing just fine. but I think it is a stretch to call Collins the new Fitz, as Collins is not a NU grad. think he’s a good hire, but he’s not Fitz. Fitz was raised by NU!

  • Chasmo

    While Chris Collins was not my favorite candidate, he brings with him the allure of the new. If NU had not made a change, Bill Carmody, when reluctantly went out on recruiting trail again this summer, would be unable to provide a satisfying answer to any recruit who asked, “Why should I think NU will be any different than it has been in your previous 13 seasons if I come to NU?” Collins can sell the fact that NU will be different because he is different. That alone makes the coaching change worthwhile.
    It will be interesting to see if Collins retains Hardy and/or Hill. And we will see how good a recruiter he is when he goes to visit Jaren Sina.

    Let’s hope for the best.

  • cebpd

    welcome! can we feel the excitement?

  • Regardless of your thoughts/excitement/anxiety of this hire, should it be announced tonight, props to Jim Phillips for handling as air tight a search as is possible in this day and age.

    • cecec

      right, cause no one knew he was being interviewed or that they liked him after. or have we all been blogging on someone else in the last few days? come on.

      but, I do love the hire!

    • SFTFame

      Pretty easy to have an airtight search when you essentially telegraph exactly who you want for a whole season and more, interview him first, and land him.

      • True.

      • Db

        Didn’t Illinois do the same thing with Shaka, and fail?

  • Noah

    What about Hardy?

    staying or going?

    • Don’t know.

    • I’d be stunned if Phillips put any kind of parameters on retaining any coaches. When you bring in a “CEO” you let him do what he does and let him make the decisions he needs to.

  • Alum Dad

    This should have all been happening last March, but better late than never. Looking forward to NU basketball running something other than the Princeton offense. I wouldn’t be all that surprised if down the road, Doug Collins and Brian James join Chris on the bench in Evanston. Let’s hope the change in NU basketball fortunes we’ve all been hoping for is here for a long run.

  • CatInTheHat

    Looks like they’re going to delay the announcement until after Duke is finished for the season:

  • Outsider1

    While this looks to be a great hire for Northwestern, I would be very concerned from a competitive standpoint if Collins is willing to accept Northwestern’s academic restrictions and poor facilities without the promise of release as reported by Greenstein in the Trib today.

  • Al

    Basically this means that Chris Collins’ audition for the Duke head coaching position will occur at Northwestern. Not saying that’s a bad thing, but let’s be realistic about it.

    • Db

      Unless Chris does an incredible job, he doesn’t crack the top 10 for next at duke. That line starts behind Stevens, brey among others.

  • bandcat

    After attending the One and Done in Indy last year i was totally frustrated. Lets hope The Luck of the Irish makes a double barrel appearance in Evanston for a long, long time to come.Start recruiting that point guard from Stevenson as soon as possible..That kid can play! Go Cats!!!!

  • gomba55

    DISAPPOINTED!! Cannot believe Collins is the best we can get.

    • Alum Dad

      There is a difference in the best you can get and getting the one you want. I don’t think NU feels likely are settling for Collins. He was their target and they went after him.

      • Db

        +1. They could have absolutely gotten a bigger name. This is who they wanted. Might work. Might not. What we had going was not working. 6 wins 70% of the time is failure. If Collins can only win 3 games a year, we have lost nothing.

  • Stephen Zgrabik

    regardless of how anyone feels about the hire (i for one am excited for it), i’m impressed with how smoothly and quickly our search occurred, getting our top candidate – especially compared to u of i last year. this is all dependent upon nothing getting messed up b/t now and the “official” announcement, of course… knock on wood.

  • MB1982

    The more comments I see here, the more I’m scratching my head. If not Collins, then who? All of you people who are complaining about him, who were you expecting?
    I don’t know if this is a good pick or a bad pick, but until I see his team in action, I’m willing to give him a chance.

  • Considering Morty is meeting with Collins tonight in a city TBD, we’ll be back at the announcement stalking in the morning.

  • 70alum

    A monumental mistake to hire somebody with no head coaching experience working in a place where they don’t have to recruit. His father can’t coach, either.

    • PDXCat

      Come on. Pedigree. I mean, just wait until Doug Collins walks into a living room and . . . oh, wait, we’re recruiting 17-year olds, not their dads. Never mind.