Hope this doesn't count as rumor mongering ... I don't claim to have any inside info, I'm just wondering:
Tim Jankovich left Illinois State today to become Larry Brown's top assistant and coach-in-waiting at SMU:
That means Illinois State is suddenly without a head coach. Now, they could promote an assistant or hire an out-of-work coach (Seth Greenberg?)
But I'm just wondering if Chris Collins' name will surface before the job is filled? He's an Illinois native and his father was the greatest star in Illinois State history. I think he was a candidate several years ago when the job opened up. I don't know if he turned it down then or they decided to go a different way.
Again, no information here -- just wondering if Chris will be a candidate there?
No offense to any ISUers, but wouldn't that job be kind of beneath Chris? I would think that he could get a much higher-profile gig when he decides to branch out.
Chris is probably a fabulous coach, he certainly has a nice resume working for Coach K, and he gives the kind of polished interviews that lead one to believe he'd be a great living room recruiter. To the extent it matters, his Dad is a longtime successful NBA coach.
All that said, he hasn't ever been a head coach. It was apparent during the Illinois coaching search that his name was never seriously in the mix, despite the self-generated chatter among Duke fans.
Why wouldn't he try to make a name for himself coaching at a mid-major in a conference where at large bids are not unheard of, in a region of the country where he might have some recruiting advantages.
Northwestern might appeal to him more -- and might be a better long term fit-- but who knows when that job will open up.
Just saying, I don't think it would be crazy.
Was the head coaching job at Delaware "beneath" Mike Brey?
Was the VCU job "beneath" Jeff Capel?
Illinois State would be a great opportunity for Chris. Jankovich has a solid roster in place. The MVC has good visibility and there is real opportunity to build a nationally relevant program. Creighton, Wichita State, and SIU before them show that.
Couple that with Chris's connections in the greater Chicago area, one would think he could recruit well and build at ISU. I think it's a great opportunity, and a better and more realistic starting point for Chris than Illinois or a similar job
Delaware (pre-CAA) was a great opportunity for Brey, who parlayed it into the Notre Dame job.
I guess Amaker (Seton Hall) and Dawkins (Stanford) made direct, bigger-time jumps.
Actually, it's probably a perfect situation. Get a chance to figure out how to run a program on your own in a small pond, deal with the local media, be the closer in recruiting, etc. College basketball is a lot different these days, assistants don't just roll into blue-blood jobs like they used to.
Just echoing sentiment ... I think the idea that one of our guys is going to jump to a major program is wishful thinking (Hope I am wrong). While we all think/know that they are great coaches, there are other great coaches who have proved it at the mid-major level (Smart at VCU and McDermott at Creighton). I think the right mid-major is the perfect place for one of our guys to go to cut their teeth as a head coach. I hope nobody's ego is so large to think that the only job worth their while is at a high major.
My Quick Smells Like French Toast.
Creighton has has been to the tournament 7 times since 2000 and the NIT 4 times
SIU has been to the tournament 6 times since 2000
WSU has been twice since 2006 and to the NIT 5 times since 2000
In stark contrast
ISU has been to the tournament ZERO times since 2000, but went to the NIT 3 times in a row from 08-10.
So throwing out the MVC as a good conference is fine, and they've have some good success recently, but ISU is not one of the teams that has really helped put them on the map. Could they get to prominence like those teams, as you suggest? Perhaps, but if you're very comfortable and love your current job, and there's precedent to land a job at a major conference where you'll (theoretically) have an easier recruiting, having success, etc. why settle?
(For the record, I don't have an opinion here, just pointing out what I've heard in terms to what Collins and Wojo are interested in and the facts around the arguments being thrown around)
Last edited by SilkyJ; 04-27-2012 at 02:45 PM.
United States Navy (Retired)
Is there an assistant coach in the country with a better HC profile than Collins?
I'm not saying it would be the worst thing in the world for him, but his stock seems closer to an Amaker/Snyder than a 27 year-old Capel.
I think this is the perfect job for Collins. Most of the BCS jobs that open up come open for a reason. I would rather Collins' (or Wojo's) first HC job be at a mid-major where ideally someone left some talent behind to pursue a bigger job (I do not know if this is the case at Illinois State), rather than take on a rebuilding job at a BCS school that was probably at the bottom of its conference without a lot of talent.
Doing a bit of research, they finished last season 21-14, losing to Stanford in the second round of the NIT, so this program is not in awful shape. However, it looks like their court is called "Doug Collins Court", which would make the job that much harder for Chris.
Also note that I am fairly certain that though they are not the official assistants, Collins and Wojo are slated to be unofficial members of the Olympic staff this summer, as I believe they were in Beijing. If Collins were to take over another program, he would have to give that up in order to begin building his program. Not sure he wants to do that, or wait a year and hope something similar comes along.
Programs of that caliber can hire coaches with big time pedigrees not dissimilar to Chris or Wojo who have also actually proved they can win as a head coach. McCaffery assisted at ND and was very successful at Siena. Rice assisted at Pitt and was successful at Robert Morris. Heck, Illinois hired a guy that was lauded as an assistant for Matta, and honestly, has a middling record as a head coach, highlighted by a two great March runs. When a guy like John Groce gets hired at Illinois, it should be a sign to Chris to readjust his strategy.
What program is going to go after Chris or Wojo that will fit their too narrow view of an appropriate first job? There have been a number of bad Big East jobs -- Seton Hall, Rutgers, Providence. Neither appears to have been a consideration. Va Tech just hired James Johnson, Seth's former assistant to take over. None of the recent ACC openings appeared to show interest. Big XII or Pac 12? Seems to be a dicey geographic fit, and again, it's not like either of them has been mentioned for any of these openings.
Not that it matters.
That reads to me as Chris's polite way of saying, no thanks. I get there's some issue with his dad's legacy, but ISU is about as solid a fit for Chris as a good mid-major opening as you'll get. ISU doesn't have recent basketball tradition, but the MVC has plenty, and it's proven to be a place where a nationally relevant program can be built -- Creighton and Wichita are now, SIU had its turn recently, Bradley and Missouri State have also been there in the last 15 years -- and where a coach can springboard to a BCS level job. In my opinion, as little as that means, it's a great chance for Chris, and if he's holding out on it for a bigger, higher profile opening, I think he'll regret waiting for that ship that doesn't ever seem to be coming in.
At least he's getting mentioned for job. Wojo? The last and only job I head that was interested in him was Dayton, who instead hired Archie Miller. Wo didn't reciprocate the interest, apparently. If that's not a big enough mid major job, I don't think such a job exists.
This all could change in the coming years (with K leaving and growing ambitions), but for the time being, I'd be surprised if either one of them moves to a position that is anything but perfect.
"With seven national titles and 20 Final Fours in the 64-team NCAA Tournament era, Duke and UNC have had more playoff success than any other CONFERENCE." - Al Featherston