Coaching is all in the family for the Collins’
by Jason Wolf, USA TODAY Sports
Chris Collins didn’t know his dad had slipped into the gymnasium and was standing behind the bleachers, that big, familiar smile shielded from view as the Duke University basketball player gave advice to the kids at his former junior high.
He spoke of the importance of hard work, passion, perseverance and high character.
“You always wonder if your kids are listening,” said Doug Collins, now coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, “and I almost got tears in my eyes. So much of what he was saying – he absorbed so many of the things that I had been speaking about through my entire lifetime while I was running my basketball camps.”
It wasn’t until years later when Chris, after dealing with the disappointment of a lifetime and becoming a coach and father himself, came to appreciate his dad’s most profound lesson.
Family is the ultimate team, selflessness the most important key to success.
Basketball a way of life
Chris knew little about adversity as a youngster. He was named Illinois Mr. Basketball after his senior season at Glenbrook North High School in suburban Chicago, an annual award given to the best player in the state. Other recipients have included Kevin Garnett and Derrick Rose. Chris was recruited by Duke, named to the All-ACC rookie team as a freshman and tabbed as the Blue Devils’ captain and All-ACC second team as a senior.
As a sophomore he advanced to a national championship game and lost.
But there was plenty of basketball left in Chris Collins’ career.
Chris could rely on the wisdom and experience of his dad, who remains burdened by a crushing defeat on the sport’s grandest stage.
Doug Collins played a key role in the U.S. men’s basketball team’s controversial loss to the Soviet Union in the gold medal game at the 1972 Munich Olympics. He hit two free throws to give the U.S. a late 50-49 lead, their first of the game, but confusion over a timeout and … [For more on Coaching is all in the family for the Collins', click here.]