Another member of Duke basketball coaching tree on hot seat

Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

One or two branches of the Duke basketball coaching tree may soon fall.

Duke basketball alum Jeff Capel isn’t exactly a beacon of job security right now after his Pitt Panthers (11-21) wrapped up yet another disappointing ride with a 66-46 loss to the lowly Boston College Eagles in the ACC Tournament opener on Tuesday. Now, one could say the same about another of Mike Krzyzewski’s former pupils: Chris Collins.

Five years have passed since Collins, a Blue Devil guard in the mid-1990s and assistant in Durham from 2000 to 2013, guided the Northwestern Wildcats to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament invite. No, the ninth-year head honcho hasn’t produced a winning season since getting fans’ hopes up via back-to-back 20-win campaigns in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

A 36-point defeat not helping matters for the Duke basketball product

Chris Collins’ 2021-22 final record isn’t above .500 either. Instead, following Northwestern’s dismal 112-76 beatdown at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on Thursday, the 47-year-old native of the Chicago area has unfortunately added a 15-17 season to his weakening resume.

Still, when speaking to the media afterward, Collins mustered plenty of positivity regarding his future with the Wildcats:

“I think the core is in place for our guys to move forward and be even better next year. We’ve got a big offseason ahead of us — a lot of guys. We got to get better, but I think the guys have shown that this is a group that can be a very competitive, good team in this league.”

For now, though, the hard reality is Collins might be out of time in the quest to bring his vision to fruition. A career 133-151 record, not to mention losses more than doubling the wins in conference play between the past five seasons, would be insufficient to secure another try at most high-major programs.

However, Northwestern’s expectations aren’t on par with most of their high-major counterparts. So perhaps there remains a sliver of hope for Chris Collins in Evanston after all.

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