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Northwestern’s new coach

The Northwestern Wildcats will have a new men’s basketball coach next season, replacing Bill Carmody.

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Northwestern’s new head basketball coach and Dr. Phillips discuss the interview process, the initial challenges posed by the job and the excitement expressed around the country as to what this hire means for Wildcat basketball.

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Jim Phillips, left, vice president for Athletics and Recreation, introduces Chris Collins as the new Northwestern University basketball coach at a press conference at Northwestern in Evanston on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. (Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune)

Collins the 24th head coach in program history

Chris Collins was introduced as the new head coach of men’s basketball at Northwestern University Tuesday.


New Northwestern Men’s Basketball coah Chris Collins (Jon Gardiner /Duke Photography)

By Teddy Greenstein, Tribune reporter

Chris Collins broke bread Wednesday night in the Chicago area with Northwestern President Morton Schapiro, sources told the Tribune.

Here’s guessing they raised a glass and spoke of their sweet expectations — to end the Wildcats’ 75-year run of missing the NCAA tournament.

Nearly 12 hours after some reports had Collins agreeing to become NU’s next coach, the deal finally became official on Wednesday night when Northwestern announced it in a press release.

That ended a long day of reports that the deal had been completed, followed by some soft denials.

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Click here for the official Northwestern press release

Chris Collins’ interview with Northwestern officials went so well Monday, the school might move to hire the Duke associate head coach this week even with the Blue Devils in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

A source told the Tribune that it’s “not outside the realm of possibility” that Northwestern would announce Collins’ hiring before Duke’s next game, which is Friday against Michigan State.

An industry analyst said he believed it would be a smart way for Northwestern to generate added exposure.

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Bill Carmody took Northwestern basketball from the depths of Division I to respectability. But given 13 chances, he could not take the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament. And ultimately that’s what led to a change Saturday, ending years of “should they or shouldn’t they” debate.

Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips will address the move at a 5:30 p.m. news confeence in Evanston.

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Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody paces the sidelines in the second half against Penn State at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston on Thursday, February 24, 2011. Penn State beat Northwestern 66-52. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)