Former UIC coach Jimmy Collins passes away at 74

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CHICAGO – Former UIC head coach Jimmy Collins passed away early Sunday morning at the age of 74.

Collins is the only coach to lead the Flames to the NCAA tournament, doing so three times in his 14 years at the helm. He also is the winningest coach in the history of the program, amassing 218 victories and four 20-plus win seasons.

Before taking over at UIC, Collins was a longtime assistant at the University of Illinois. He was a key recruiter for Lou Henson during his 13 seasons in Champaign. Collins is credited as one of the architects of the 1989 “Flyin’ Illini” Final Four team.

The Syracuse-native played in the Final Four himself at New Mexico State, where he was a second team All-American for the Aggies. Collins was the eleventh overall pick in the 1970 NBA Draft. He played two seasons for the Bulls before heading to the ABA.

His daughter Brandi did not elaborate on the exact nature of his death on Twitter, but said the family is “left with many questions.”

In addition to Brandi, Collins is survived by his wife, Hettie, and his three other children, Erica, Kenny, and Semaj.

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