Chicago, Ill. - University of Illinois at Chicago Head Men's Basketball Coach Jimmy Collins will continue to lead the Flames beyond the 2008-09 season as athletic director Jim Schmidt announced on Tuesday a three-year contract extension for the winningest basketball coach in school history pending Board of Trustees approval.
"I have been truly blessed to spend the last 12 years doing what I love here at UIC," Collins said. "It is a great university with great administrators, faculty and students, who have all helped me, and this basketball program, become successful.
"I am as excited as I have ever been about our upcoming season and the young men we have returning, as well as the new recruits we have coming in," Collins continued. "I am as eager to get on the court and continue to build this program as I was the day I got the job."
Collins, who is the longest tenured NCAA Division I men's basketball coach in the state, was introduced as head coach on March 27, 1996. He has guided UIC to three NCAA Tournament appearances (1998, 2002, 2004) and one NIT bid (2003) while topping the 20-win plateau on four occasions, including a school record 24 victories in 2003-04. Collins owns a career record of 194-171.
"Coach Collins has become synonymous with UIC basketball and has become an institution on this campus," Schmidt said. "His success speaks for itself.
"He is an excellent ambassador for UIC, understands our mission and will retire as a Flame."
Collins, the 1996-97 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Co-Coach of the Year, has guided 11 student-athletes to All-League honors during his tenure, including four-time All-Horizon League recipient, and UIC's all-time leading scorer, Cedrick Banks and 1998 MCC Player of the Year Mark Miller.
Last year, Collins took a team pegged for eighth in the preseason Horizon League poll and guided them to an 18-win season and a fourth place finish in the final league standings.
Collins, who will enter the 2008-09 season just six wins shy of 200 career victories, returns three starters to his lineup, including All-Horizon League performers Josh Mayo (Merrillville, Ind./Merrillville) and Scott VanderMeer (Dyer, Ind../Lake Central).