Renowned Spartan athlete and Northwestern University boys basketball coach Chris Collins was honored May 26 as this year’s Glenbrook North Distinguished Alumnus.
Collins made his varsity basketball debut in 1988 as a freshman at GBN. He was the starting point guard as a sophomore, and by his junior year, his unwavering dedication helped propel the Spartans to a 20-win season and conference championship. He was named Illinois Mr. Basketball as a senior, and was also selected to play in the Mcdonald’s All-American game.
“I’ve yet to be at a high school around the country that compares to this place,” Collins said during the recent awards assembly. “When you walk to halls, you see the people, and the quality of kids that are here… the achievement in so many areas… I’ll put what we do at Glenbrook North against anywhere in the United States. This is a special place.”
That’s quite the compliment coming from Collins who visits many schools to recruit potential collegiate players.
“I’ve been fortunate and lucky to do a lot of things in my career and growing up, but there’s nothing that gives me more pride than being from this school,” Collins said.
Collins was granted a scholarship to play Division I basketball at Duke University in 1992, becoming the first GBN athlete to play basketball at the collegiate level. During his senior year at Duke, Collins was named team captain and MVP. He played professional basketball in Finland for two years before becoming an assistant coach at his alma mater. He stayed with the Duke team for 13 years before accepting the job as head coach at Northwestern, where he hired his former GBN coach, Brian James, as an assistant coach for the Wildcats.
Collins told this year’s graduating seniors that it’s important to carry their Spartan roots with them, no matter where they go in life.
“As you guys move on and go your separate ways, make sure you retain these friendships,” he said. “Some of my greatest friendships still are the ones I developed here at Glenbrook North. There’s a bond you will all have – being from this school. I wouldn’t trade my four years here for anything in the world.”