Northwestern's Chris Collins talks about his dad Doug's hall of fame induction

Former Chicago Bulls head coach Doug Collins earned the highest basketball honor on April 6. 

Collins was notified of his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame that Saturday morning. That led to a collective exhale from the Collins family.

Chris Collins, Northwestern men's basketball coach and Doug's son, recalled the nerves that started the night before.

"My dad had gotten a call the night before that you have to be available between like nine and 12 tomorrow," Collins told FOX 32's Cassie Carlson on Wednesday. "You're going to be getting the call either way."

But, Doug got the call.

The former NBA player, Chicago Bulls head coach and Michael Jordan's mentor will be enshrined in the basketball hall of fame along with VInce Carter, Billups, Cooper, Seimone Augustus, Jerry West, Herb Simon, Bo Ryan, Walter Davis, Charles Smith, Dick Barnett, Harley Redin and Michele Timms.

"I got the call kind of the next day," Chris said. "He was beyond excited and obviously very emotional and, it's just a really exciting day for the family."

Doug will enter the hall of fame as a contributor. The two other contributor inductees are Herb Simon and Jerry West.

Doug, a Christopher, Illinois, native, had an impact at every level of the NBA. 

He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, was a four-time NBA All-Star in a playing career that spanned 1973 to 1981, won 442 games as a coach and was an NBA television analyst for CBS, NBC, TNT, TBS and ABC/ESPN. All of those accomplishments made the Collins family confident. 

But, they still had to get the call.

"It was nerve wracking for all of us," Chris said. "We all were confident because we know what he's meant to the game and what he's done, and I was confident that the committee would see that this is something that is deserved, and what he did as a player coach and a broadcaster."

Collins' 442 wins as a coach were an example of the way he could impact a team and a franchise.

Chris chalked it up to his dad's passion for the game, which brought out the best in the players that he coached.

"I just think his passion and his ability to teach and bring people together in pretty much every situation he took over as a coach if a team that was struggling, even as a player," Chris said. "Everywhere he went, it was kind of a team that was struggling and he was a part of a rebuild and to getting them into the right direction and, creating a winning culture."

Collins' first season as the Bulls head coach in 1986 saw a 10-win improvement from a 30–52 overall record to a 40-42 record. In Year Two, Collins led the Bulls to a 50-32 record in his second year with a finish in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

"He's just a really passionate guy," Chris said. "He loves the game, very smart, very knowledgeable, his enthusiasm rubs off on people and I think that's why he's always been able to help teams kind of go from a low point and get better as a franchise."

Those traits carried over to Chris, who's been leading the Northwestern program since 2013. Chris has followed his dad's footsteps as a head coach, taking Northwestern to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2017, followed by the program's first two consecutive tournament appearances in NU history in 2023 and 2024.

Still, even after all he's done on his own, Chris said he relishes being called "Doug's son."

"No one's going to work any harder. No one's gonna care anymore," Chris said. "Because of those attributes, he's always been able to be really successful in everything he's done."


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