By John Dempsey, WLS-AM News
(CHICAGO) The Chicago Bulls have hired their former coach Doug Collins as a Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations. The move comes 28 years after the Bulls unexpectedly fired Collins in 1989, after he took them to their first conference finals since 1975, citing what team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said at the time were “philosophical differences.” Collins was replaced by Phil Jackson, who coached the team to six NBA Championships in the 1990’s.
Now, Reinsdorf says Collins is re-joining the Bulls family. As Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations, Reinsdorf says “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. 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 is 66 years old, and is a native of downstate Benton. He played for Illinois State and was a star on the 1972 American Olympic team that lost a disputed gold medal game to Russia.
After leaving Illinois State, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Collins with the first overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. He played eight seasons with the Sixers and was a four-time NBA All-Star before his career was cut short due to injuries. In 1986, Collins was named head coach of the Bulls, a position he held for three seasons. He also has been head coach for the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and 76ers. He is the father of current Northwestern Basketball coach Chris Collins.
Doug Collins issued a statement saying, “People who know me know the respect that I have for Jerry, Michael, and the Chicago Bulls organization. I am looking forward to getting started and helping everyone. To be able to stay involved in the NBA and work with John, Gar, Fred and their respective staffs, while not having to leave my family and continuing to live in one of the greatest cities in the world—the fit couldn’t be any better for me at this point in my life.”
In his new role with the club, Collins will report to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson.
“We are pleased to have Doug return to the Bulls and have him join our front office. As our organization transitions into this next phase, we feel like Doug will bring valuable perspective with his vast knowledge of the NBA and the game of basketball,” said Paxson. “His enthusiasm and expertise make this a great fit for the Bulls. As an advisor, he will regularly contribute observations, insights and suggestions, and he will be part of conversations throughout this building. I know from talking to Doug he is excited to join us at this time, and we look forward to tapping into his experience to help improve this team.”
@ 2017 WLS-AM News