Former UIC head coach Jimmy Collins passed away at age 74
Longtime UIC head coach Jimmy Collins passed away over the weekend at the age of 74. Collins led the Flames for 14 seasons, going 218-208 and reaching the NCAA Tournament three times.
The Syracuse, NY native played at New Mexico State and got his coaching career started there after a couple years playing for the Chicago Bulls. With the Aggies, he was coached by Hall of Famer Lou Henson and captained the 1969-70 squad that reached the NCAA Final Four.
He coached elementary school basketball and worked as a probation officer for several years in Chicago before Henson hired him as an assistant downstate at Illinois. In 13 seasons with the Illini, he was part of 10 NCAA Tournaments including another trip to the Final Four in 1989.
The Flames hired Collins in 1996 and he had success almost immediately, winning a share of the Horizon League title and taking the team to the NCAA Tournament in year two. He went back to the Big Dance in 2002 and 2004 with an NIT bid in between, representing the four 20+ win seasons he had at UIC (since joining D-I in 1981, UIC only has two other 20-win seasons).
Collins is survived by his wife, Hettie, and four children, Erica, Kenny, Semaj and Brandi.
credit to Illinois Athletics for the image