Duke's Chris Collins on verge of landing Northwestern coaching job

Mar. 26, 2013 @ 10:30 PM

Duke associate head basketball coach Chris Collins appears close to landing his first college head-coaching job.

And it would take him to his childhood home.

Collins met with Northwestern officials on Monday about the school’s vacant head-coaching position, according to sources, and is considered the front-runner for the job,

A former Mr. Basketball in Illinois as a prep star at Glenbrook North High School in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Collins would replace Bill Carmody with the Wildcats.

Fired on March 16, Carmody spent 13 years at Northwestern and, like every Wildcats coach before him, failed to make the NCAA Tournament.

The 38-year-old Collins expressed interest in the job as soon as it came open and his candidacy gained momentum following Duke’s 66-50 NCAA Tournament win over Creighton in Philadelphia on Sunday night.

After returning to Durham at 4 a.m. Monday on the team’s charter flight, the 38-year-old Collins met with Northwestern officials later Monday at an undisclosed location. A source close to the situation said the meeting did not take place on the school’s Evanston, Ill., campus.

Duke associate head coach Steve Wojciechowski took Collins’ place Monday night on the Duke Basketball Radio Show. The two normally alternate weeks, but Wojciechowski appeared with host Art Chase on consecutive weeks due to Collins’ absence.

The Blue Devils did not practice on Monday and Collins was expected at Duke’s practice Tuesday. No.6 Duke plays Michigan State in the Midwest Regional semifinals at Indianapolis on Friday night (9:45 p.m., WRAL)

Sources said the interview went well and that the idea of Collins being named Northwestern’s head coach between now and the Duke-Michigan State game is a possibility.

There is also a chance Collins could visit Northwestern’s campus for more meetings this week.

The Blue Devils will travel to Indianapolis today and practice there Thursday.

Collins played four seasons for Duke from 1993-97 and has been on Mike Krzyzewski’s coaching staff since 2000. Duke won the 2001 and 2010 national championships during his tenure.

In 2008, Collins was named associate head coach for the Blue Devils. He has also worked with the U.S. Olympic teams during the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, when the team won two gold medals with Krzyzewski as its head coach.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Northwestern has already interviewed three current head coaches. That list, the paper said, is believed to include Bucknell’s Dave Paulsen, Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew, La Salle’s John Giannini and perhaps Lehigh’s Brett Reed.

Attempts to reach Collins were unsuccessful.

Last weekend, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said Collins would be a “great” head coach.

“Chris knows everything about basketball,” Krzyzewski said.