Jimmy Collins, Former UIC Coach and Illinois Assistant, Dies

Collins was a key architect of the famous "Flyin' Illini' squad that made the Final Four in 1989

Former University of Illinois at Chicago head coach Jimmy Collins patrols the sidelines during a game in 2004

Jimmy Collins, who coached Illinois-Chicago to the NCAA tournament three times in 14 seasons, died Sunday morning, the school announced. He was 74.

Collins led UIC to a 218-208 record from 1996 to 2010. The Flames posted four 20-win seasons and made the program's only NCAA tournament appearances in 1998, 2002 and 2004.

Collins played for Lou Henson at New Mexico State from 1967-70. He helped the Aggies reach the Final Four in his last season and was drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Bulls.

Collins spent 13 seasons as an assistant under Henson at Illinois and was one of the main architects of the 1988-89 “Flyin’ Illini” squad that won 31 games and reached the Final Four. He also recruited Deon Thomas, Illinois' career scoring leader and a former UIC assistant.

Collins is survived by his wife Hettie and children Erica, Kenny, Semaj and Brandi.


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