Doug Collins (basketball)

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Doug Collins
Doug Collins gestures.jpg
Collins as head coach of the 76ers in November 2010
Personal information
Born (1951-07-28) July 28, 1951 (age 68)
Christopher, Illinois
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High school Benton (Benton, Illinois)
College Illinois State (1970–1973)
NBA draft 1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career 1973–1981
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
Number 20
Coaching career 1986–present
Career history
As player:
19731981 Philadelphia 76ers
As coach:
19861989 Chicago Bulls
19951998 Detroit Pistons
20012003 Washington Wizards
20102013 Philadelphia 76ers
Career highlights and awards
As player:

As coach:

Career statistics
Points 7,427 (17.9 ppg)
Rebounds 1,339 (3.2 rpg)
Assists 1,368 (3.3 apg)
Stats at

Paul Douglas "Doug" Collins (born July 28, 1951) is an American retired basketball player. He was the first overall pick of the 1973 NBA draft and a four-time NBA All-Star. He has also been an NBA coach, coaching the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. Currently, Collins serves as an analyst on the NBA on ESPN pre-game show NBA Countdown.[1]


High school and college

Collins enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Benton High School in Benton, Illinois, under renowned coach Rich Herrin, after which he went on to play for Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, in 1969.

1972 Olympics

Collins was chosen to represent the United States at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany. While those games are mainly remembered for the terrorist attack that left eleven Israeli athletes dead, there was also the controversial gold medal basketball game between the United States and the Soviet Union, in which Collins played a key part. The United States was undefeated in Olympic basketball competition history, and widely expected to remain undefeated after these Olympics. After Collins hit two free throws near the end of the final game, the United States had a 50–49 lead. However, confusion over a timeout call and subsequent issues with the game clock led the game's officials to restart the game's final three seconds two times. On their final attempt, the Soviets made a layup to take a lead. This gave the U.S. its first ever Olympic loss by a 51–50 margin.[2]

Playing career

After that controversial game, Collins went on to be drafted by the Denver Nuggets of the American Basketball Association. In a 1973 supplementary draft, he was chosen by the New York Nets. Despite being drafted by ABA teams, he never played in that league, instead choosing to play in the NBA, where he had been the number one overall pick in the 1973 NBA draft, picked by the Philadelphia 76ers. He only played 25 games his rookie year, the 1973–74 season, averaging 8 points per game.

His numbers improved substantially over the next few seasons, scoring almost 18 points and dishing out 2.6 assists while getting almost 4 rebounds per game in 81 games played during 1974–75 season, and then scoring 20.8 points per game and grabbing four rebounds per game in 1975–76. Collins made four All-Star teams in the late 1970s.

He kept tallying an average of about 19 points and four rebounds per game for the next three seasons, as the 76ers reached the NBA Finals during 1976–77 season. Although the team featured Julius Erving, among others, the Sixers could not overcome Bill Walton and the Portland Trail Blazers in those finals, losing four games to two.

During the 1978–79 season, Collins suffered a serious injury, which limited him to only 47 games that year, and eventually forced him into retirement as a basketball player.[3] His last season was 1980–81, in which he would only play 12 games before announcing his retirement.

Collins scored a total of 7,427 points in 415 NBA games, for an average of 17.9 points per game, while grabbing 1,339 rebounds for 3.2 per game, and passing for 1,368 assists, averaging 3.3 assists a game. As the three point shots were new to basketball when Collins retired, he only took one of those during his NBA career, missing it.

Post-playing career

After his retirement, Collins turned to coaching. He joined Bob Weinhauer's staff at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant coach and later followed Weinhauer to Arizona State for the same job.[4]

Coach of the Bulls

Collins took his first head coaching job with the Chicago Bulls in 1986, where he coached Michael Jordan and a young Scottie Pippen. He led the Bulls to a string of playoff appearances, including their best record in 15 years and an Eastern Conference Finals Appearance.[5] Collins enjoyed regular season success with the Bulls, winning 137 games in his three full seasons as head coach and never missing the playoffs. Collins, however, was unable to get past Central Division rival the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs. The Bulls lost to the Pistons in 5 games in the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals.[6] Despite holding an early 2-1 series lead, the Bulls again lost to the Pistons in 6 games in the 1989 Eastern Conference Finals.[7] The Conference Finals trip was the Bulls first trip to the conference finals since 1975. Despite that fact, Collins was fired in the summer of 1989.[8]

Coach of the Pistons

Collins was named the head coach of the Detroit Pistons in 1995, and in his first season was able to improve the team's previous season's record by 18 games.[9] In 1997 he coached the Eastern Conference All-Star team.[10] He served as Pistons' head coach until February 2, 1998, when he was fired and replaced by Alvin Gentry. Collins then became a television broadcaster, working for many years at various networks, such as NBC on the NBA on NBC and TNT on the NBA on TNT.

Coach of the Wizards

He worked as a broadcaster for about five years, before being hired to coach the Washington Wizards, before the start of the 2001–02 NBA season. In Washington, Collins was reunited with Michael Jordan and Charles Oakley. Once again, in his first season with his new team, Collins improved the team's previous season's record by 18 games.[11] Though his .451 winning percentage through 2 seasons was better than the Wizards' .308 record the previous 2 seasons (and subsequent .305 record the following season),[11] Collins was fired at the conclusion of the 2002–03 season.

Return to broadcasting

After being fired by the Wizards, Collins returned to announcing games for TNT. In addition, he served as an analyst for NBC Sports' TV coverage of basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[12] He also was a basketball analyst for NBC during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[13]

During this time, Collins' name surfaced several times regarding head coaching vacancies. In 2005, he was a candidate for the Milwaukee Bucks job but was passed over for Terry Stotts.[14] Collins was approached by the team again in 2008 to serve as their GM and coach but turned them down again.[14] In May 2008, Collins was in negotiations to coach the Chicago Bulls, nearly 20 years after he was fired from the team.[15] However, Collins withdrew his name when he and owner Jerry Reinsdorf "agreed it wasn't the best to keep going this way," in light of their close personal friendship.[16]

Coach of the 76ers

On May 21, 2010, Collins was hired as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.[17] While the 76ers initially started out poorly with a record of 3-13, the team showed improvement as the season went on, and clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs. Under Collins, the team increased its win total by 14 games over the previous season. They lost to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat in the first round, but were able to avoid a sweep that had been predicted. Collins finished second in Coach of the Year voting that season.[18]

In the lockout-shortened 2011–2012 season, Collins led the Sixers to an improved record, but Philadelphia was only able to take the eighth seed in the playoffs. Against the top seeded Chicago Bulls, Collins led the Sixers to their first playoff series victory since 2003. It was the fifth time in NBA history that an eighth seed defeated a first seed in a playoff series. They took the next series against the Boston Celtics to seven games, but lost.

Collins resigned as 76ers coach on April 18, 2013, citing a need to spend more time with his five grandchildren.[19][20] It was announced that he would stay with the team as an adviser.[21]

Head coaching record

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win-loss %
Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win-loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Chicago 1986–87 82 40 42 .488 5th in Central 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First Round
Chicago 1987–88 82 50 32 .610 2nd in Central 10 4 6 .400 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Chicago 1988–89 82 47 35 .573 5th in Central 17 9 8 .529 Lost in Conf. Finals
Detroit 1995–96 82 46 36 .561 4th in Central 3 0 3 .000 Lost in First Round
Detroit 1996–97 82 54 28 .659 3rd in Central 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
Detroit 1997–98 45 21 24 .467 (fired)
Washington 2001–02 82 37 45 .451 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
Washington 2002–03 82 37 45 .451 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
Philadelphia 2010–11 82 41 41 .500 3rd in Atlantic 5 1 4 .200 Lost in First Round
Philadelphia 2011–12 66 35 31 .530 3rd in Atlantic 13 7 6 .538 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Philadelphia 2012–13 82 34 48 .415 4th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Career 849 442 407 .521 56 23 33 .411

Personal life

Doug and his wife Kathy have two children. They reside in the Delaware Valley. Their son Chris, a former professional basketball player, is the head basketball coach at Northwestern University and their daughter Kelly, who played basketball at Lehigh University, is a school teacher in Pennsylvania.


Illinois State University's basketball court is named after Collins (Doug Collins Court at Redbird Arena). A statue depicting Collins and his ISU coach, Will Robinson, was unveiled on September 19, 2009, outside the north entrance of Redbird Arena.


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  2. 50 stunning Olympic moments No1: USA v USSR, basketball final, 1972
  3. [1] Archived November 23, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. "Philadelphia 76ers Name Doug Collins Head Coach – 5/21/2010",, May 25, 2010 accessed June 5, 2010.
  5. "BULLS: History of the Chicago Bulls". Retrieved 2011-11-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "1988 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals". Basketball Reference. Retrieved April 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "1989 NBA Eastern Conference Finals". Retrieved April 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Despite Bulls' Success, They Fire Doug Collins". Associated Press. July 7, 1989. Retrieved April 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. [2] Archived June 29, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Smith, Sam (May 2, 1997). "Doug Collins Making All The Right Moves". Chicago Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. 11.0 11.1 "76ers hire Doug Collins as head coach". InsideHoops. 1986-05-23. Retrieved 2011-11-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup – A blog on sports media, news and networks –". Retrieved 2011-11-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Medium Well: NBC's London Olympic announcers: Who's new and who's back –". USA Today. June 28, 2012. Retrieved 2013-03-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 Vecsey, Peter."Grizzly Situation", New York Post, March 30, 2008 accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  15. "Bulls poised to hire Collins as Coach", ESPN, May 30, 2008 accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  16. "Collins, Reinsdorf agree coaching search continues … minus Collins ", ESPN, June 6, 2008 accessed Dec. 28, 2009.
  17. "Philadelphia 76ers Name Doug Collins Head Coach". May 21, 2010. Retrieved May 21, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Sixers Doug Collins Finishes Second in NBA Coach of the Year Voting
  21. Gelston, Dan (April 18, 2013). "It's official: Doug Collins resigns as 76ers coach". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved October 26, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>