Chris Collins was named the 24th head men's basketball coach at Northwestern University on March 27, 2013.
Collins' second season with the Wildcats saw the young team continue to improve throughout the season. Despite a stretch of heartbreaking losses, Northwestern showed the resilience to bounce back late in the year to post four straight Big Ten victories and five of six.
Despite being without the services of leading returning scorer JerShon Cobb for a good portion of the season, the 'Cats came together during their late-season surge. Three of the team's top six scorers were true freshmen, including point guard Bryant McIntosh who set the school freshman record with 150 assists to go along with an average of 11.4 points per game en route to being named to the five-member Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
Juniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah both earned honorable mention All-Big Ten recognition. Demps helped Northwestern win multiple games with his clutch shot-making while Olah became the school's career leader in blocked shots in just three seasons and ranked third in the Big Ten with seven double-doubles. Newcomers Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey played their best ball late the season with Law finishing fifth in the Big Ten in 3-point field goal percentage (.442), including 58.3 percent (14-24) over the last seven games.
In his first season at the helm, Collins led the Wildcats to an impressive string of road victories.
Collins won his debut as a head coach, notching a 72-55 victory over Eastern Illinois Nov. 9. He traversed the 'Cats through a grinding Big Ten schedule, including earning his first conference triumph at home against 23rd-ranked Illinois Jan. 12.
Northwestern's impressive string of road success began Jan. 18 at Indiana before the Wildcats earned a 65-56 win at 14th-ranked Wisconsin. The loss was just the fifth by an unranked Big Ten team in 73 games during Bo Ryan's tenure in Madison. The winning ways continued three days later when the 'Cats notched a one-point win at Minnesota, marking NU's first three-game road winning streak since 1960.
Despite the loss of second-leading scorer JerShon Cobb to injury late in the season, the Wildcats finished the season strong as they defeated Purdue on the road to wrap up the regular season before upsetting sixth-seeded Iowa in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.
The Wildcats were greatly improved on the defensive end under Collins' guidance, holding four of their Big Ten opponents below 30 percent shooting in a game. NU allowed a mere 63.3 points per game in conference play to rank second in the league. Meanwhile, the team's .419 opponents field goal percentage ranked third in the Big Ten.
Collins came to Evanston after serving on the coaching staff at Duke since July 22, 2000. He was promoted to Associate Head Coach in the summer of 2008. During Collins' 13 seasons on the Blue Devils' staff, Duke posted an overall record of 385-77 while recording eight ACC tournament championships, four ACC regular season titles, eight in-season tournament titles and national championships in 2001 and 2010.
Collins worked primarily with backcourt players during his time at Duke and tutored All-Americans Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon, J.J. Redick, Gerald Henderson, DeMarcus Nelson, Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Austin Rivers, in addition to NBA draft picks Daniel Ewing, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Singler.
Collins also served as a court coach and scout for Mike Krzyzewski, assisting the USA Basketball Senior National Team staff with on-court duties as well as game preparation from 2006-12, including during the program's gold-medal performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Championships and 2012 London Olympics.
In his first season as a coach at Duke, the Blue Devils won the 2001 national championship with an 82-72 victory over Arizona. Along the way, Williams earned unanimous first-team All-America and National Player of the Year honors by the NABC. Duhon, a freshman under Collins' tutelage in 2001, was named the ACC Rookie of the Year.
In Collins' second season at Duke, the Blue Devils posted a 31-4 record, won the ACC tournament for the fourth-consecutive season and were ranked No. 1 in the nation in the final Associated Press poll. Williams, one of Collins' understudies, earned National Player of the Year honors for the second-consecutive year and became just one of seven repeat winners of that prestigious honor.
During the 2002-03 season, Duke posted a 26-7 record, a fifth-consecutive ACC tournament championship and reached the Sweet 16 for the sixth-straight year. One year later, Duke went 31-6 and returned to the Final Four for the second time in Collins' Blue Devil coaching career. Two of his backcourt players, Duhon and Redick, earned All-America and All-ACC recognition.
Collins helped the Blue Devils to a 26-7 overall slate that included the ACC tournament crown and yet another berth in the NCAA tournament in 2004-05. Redick was named the National Player of the Year while Ewing was a second-round selection of the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2005 NBA Draft.
In the 2005-06 season, Collins watched his star pupil, Redick, register one of the most impressive scoring seasons in Duke history. Redick ranked second in the NCAA with a scoring average of 26.8 points per game, while setting the Duke and ACC career scoring records and the NCAA career three-point field goals record. He was a consensus National Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American for the 32-4 Blue Devils.
In 2007-08, Collins helped Nelson elevate his game and garner several honors along the way. Nelson was tabbed the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and also earned NABC third-team All-America, first-team All-ACC and ACC All-Defensive team honors.
In 2008-09, Collins guided Henderson to All-America and first-team All-ACC honors. Collins also coached Scheyer in his transition to point guard late in the year, which led to an ACC tournament championship and NCAA Sweet 16 berth.
Collins helped lead Duke to its second national championship during his tenure in 2009-10 as the Blue Devils defeated Butler, 61-59, in the NCAA championship game. Collins coached the top-scoring trio in the NCAA as guards Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith combined to score 53.3 points per game. Those three players earned numerous awards during the season with top honors, including second-team All-America for Scheyer, NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player for Singler and 2010 NCAA Tournament South Region MOP for Smith. All three players were also selected All-ACC and to ACC all-tournament teams while leading the Blue Devils to ACC tournament, ACC regular season and NIT Season Tip-Off championships.
The 2010-11 season marked the third-straight 30-win campaign for the Blue Devils. Collins coached a pair of senior all-stars for the Blue Devils, Singler and Smith. Singler earned first-team All-ACC honors, while Smith led the ACC in scoring at 20.6 points per game to claim ACC Player of the Year and first-team All-America honors.
In 2011-12, Collins was integral in the development of a backcourt featuring NABC third team All-America Austin Rivers and third-team All-ACC pick Seth Curry. Rivers averaged a team-high 15.5 points per game to become just the third Duke freshman to lead the team in scoring. He was also tabbed as the ACC Rookie of the Year and was just the seventh freshman in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors.
Before returning to his alma mater, Collins served as an assistant coach at Seton Hall for two years with Tommy Amaker. In 1999-2000, Collins was part of a staff that guided the Pirates to a 22-10 record and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. Prior to Seton Hall, Collins spent the 1997-98 season as an assistant with the WNBA's Detroit Shock.
As a player, Collins played professional basketball in Finland during the 1996-97 season, leading the league in scoring.
While at Duke, Collins was a team captain as a senior and four-year letterman from 1993-96. He currently ranks 11th among Duke's all-time leaders in three-point field goals (209) and 10th in three-point field goal attempts (539). Collins averaged 9.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a collegian. He earned second-team All-ACC honors as a senior.
Collins was a member of a Duke senior class that had 83 total victories, three NCAA Tournament bids, one Final Four appearance, two ACC regular season championships, an ACC tournament title, and two in-season tournament championships (the 1992 Maui Classic and the 1995 Carrs Great Alaska Shootout).
As a senior in 1996, Collins had his most productive season, leading the Blue Devils in three-point field goals (79), three-point percentage (.441), free throws made (83) and attempted (115), assists (132) and steals (37). Collins also ranked second on the team by averaging 16.3 points per game. He was among the ACC leaders in scoring (10th), assists (fourth), field goal percentage (.467, seventh) and free throw percentage (.722, 10th).
Collins is the son of former NBA All-Star, Doug Collins, who is currently an NBA television analyst for ESPN. A native of nearby Northbrook, Ill., Collins is a 1996 graduate of Duke with a bachelor's degree in sociology.
Collins and his wife, Kim, have two children: Ryan and Kate.