Posted: 12:18 a.m. Sunday, March 17, 2013
As Northwestern gets tired of the Bill Carmody era and pushes the Pete Carrill disciple out the door, replacement talk has quickly turned to Duke assistant Chris Collins. It’ll be pumped up quickly by Dick Vitale, who is like an uncle marrying off other people’s children when it comes to matching assistants with jobs.
And being back in Sweet Home Chicago may have a significant lure for Collins.
Consider first that former Duke coach Bill Foster, who could turn around a dead mule in the back seat of a Mini, could never get traction there. Leave aside the eccentric choices: the late Ricky Byrdsong, who wandered off in the stands during a game before becoming a tragic footnote in a bizarre murder spree a few years later (he was killed by a racist hoping to provoke a race war) or the always obnoxious Kevin O’ Neill, who found creative ways to be crude, lewd and lose in Evanston.
Say this for Northwestern: they always lose, but rarely with the distressing whiff of fresh shoecrust O’ Neill dragged into work every day.
Of course, they pursued Tommy Amaker previously, but he found the environment too daunting, the academics and competition too difficult to sell to recruits.
Collins might well take it. It’s a beautiful school in a great conference with a lot to offer.
Or he might decide to wait a year or so and see what happens at DePaul. Folks there are apparently not happy with Oliver Purnell’s progress.
DePaul at least has a significant history in the sport, something to draw on. It’s hard to see the pleasure in taking Ivy League students up against the athletes of the Big Ten.
We think highly of Collins though and if he takes it, he’ll do well. He’s just too smart and buoyant to fail.
But if he does opt against it, may we make a small suggestion to the geniuses at Northwestern? You’re looking for a guy who can succeed with high-level students competing against teams which are consistently more talented, correct?
You should move heaven and earth, and Lake Michigan if you must, to get Davidson’s Bob McKillop in for an interview. No one is better suited to that job than McKillop.