At Illinois State University (my alma mater), Doug Collins is revered as a hometown hero in the athletic department and among the Redbird basketball faithful.
In his new job with the Chicago Bulls, he won’t have nearly that benefit of the doubt among the Bulls faithful who have been trained to question every hire that the team makes.
In a surprise announcement, the Bulls hired Collins as the Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations this morning and will officially introduce him in a press conference set for today at 3 p.m. In his new role, Collins will report directly to Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson.
“Doug will be great in this capacity for our organization. The position of ‘senior advisor’ has proven to work well around the NBA in recent years, and I am confident the same will hold true with the Bulls,” said Chicago Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. “The fact that our relationship goes back more than 30 years certainly helps, but he is especially qualified to assist our leadership in rebuilding the Bulls.”
Collins coached the Bulls from 1986-1989, when Paxson was one of his players. In 2008, Paxson wanted Collins to fill the Bulls head coaching vacancy, but Reinsdorf reportedly pulled Collins from consideration because he didn’t want to compromise the friendship the two had.
Collins has a 442-407 record (.521) as a head coach in the NBA, his last job on the sidelines ending in 2013. A main criticism (other than the deeply rooted connection to Paxson) is his old school approach to analyzing the game and his hesitation in accepting analytics.
Does the hiring of Collins signal less influence in the future from Gar Forman (who’s reportedly not going to be at this press conference...) or even that the Bulls much-maligned general manager may get fired soon? Or is it more of a move to fulfill the organization’s goal of expanding the front office to include more decision makers?