Doug Collins is the most decorated athlete in the history of Illinois State athletics.
He was an all-american and averaged 29.1 ppg as a Redbird. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, an Olympian, a four-time NBA all-star and a coach that took a team to the NBA playoffs six times in ten seasons. The court is named after him.
That connection is why it was easy to peg his son Chris, who is currently an assistant at Duke, as Tim Jankovich’s successor. The younger Collins wants a head-coaching job and Illinois State, minus the emotional connection to his father, is a fairly good landing spot. It’s a winning program with a quality roster in a respected mid-major conference.
The problem, however, was that emotional connection, which played a major role in Collins turning down the opportunity to coach his father’s alma mater. The son didn’t want to tarnish the father’s legacy. What happens if Chris took the Redbirds to back-to-back MVC titles and NCAA tournaments and jumped at the chance to take a high-major gig? What happens if the hiring was a disaster, and half the program transferred out before Illinois State had to bite the bullet and fire him?
Neither would have been any kind of a guarantee, but would that be a risk you would be willing to take?