COACHING UPDATE: Doug Collins Will NOT Be The Next Bulls Coach
Doug Collins will not be returning for a second coaching stint with the Bulls.
Collins and team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf mutually agreed during a Friday-afternoon phone conversation that the Bulls' coaching search, now more than seven weeks old, would continue without Collins.
"I just knew over the last few days that Jerry was really struggling over whether or not to do this, and I didn't want Jerry to have those struggles," Collins told the Tribune. "I love him. And I didn't want him feeling that kind of angst.
"This is absolutely mutual. When this first came about, there was a tremendous amount of excitement about this possibility. And I'm losing that. The feeling now is more, 'Should I do this?' Once I got to that point, it meant no. I always make decisions yes is yes, no is no and maybe is no.
"Jerry knows me well enough to know the only way I could do this is if I was totally engaged. And I just couldn't do that now."
Collins, who turns 57 in July, said he'd continue his broadcasting career with TNT. He added this Bulls team is the only one for which he'd return to coaching.
"I'm not going to coach another team," Collins said. "I spiritually felt I was led to this opportunity in Chicago. Four or five things happened along the way for me to get to this point. My family was incredibly supportive.
"For many reasons, it didn't come to be. If I was ever going to do it again, I would've done it in Chicago with Pax and Jerry. But I'm not going to go to another city and start all over again and make my family make new friends.
"Kathy (Collins' wife) was so comfortable because we lived there for 10 years. We would've been closer to (children) Chris and Kelly. It was exciting for all of them, too. But it just wasn't meant to be."
Collins first contacted the Bulls on May 23--three days after they won the top pick in the NBA draft lottery--to inform them he had changed his mind about not wanting to coach. Reinsdorf and general manager John Paxson flew to San Antonio, where Collins was working the Western Conference finals for TNT, to interview him on Memorial Day.
Collins had one follow-up phone interview, then watched as Reinsdorf and Paxson conducted second interviews with Kings assistant Chuck Person and former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey this week.
Sources said Paxson signed off on Collins' hiring. Reinsdorf consistently and publicly has said he never tells his general managers whom to hire but that he can exercise veto power.
Collins refused to comment when asked if Paxson had made it clear he wanted Collins as his coach. But Collins said he understood Reinsdorf's hesitations because the two have become extremely close since Reinsdorf fired Collins in July 1989. Collins had just led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference finals.
"I understand if Jerry had concerns about firing me again," Collins said. "My whole thing is you can't enter into an agreement with somebody if down the road, you think there's a chance for failure.
"It would've been a lot of fun to coach the Bulls. But I am comfortable with this development. It happened the way it was supposed to happen."
The Bulls now likely will pick from among Person, Casey, Jazz assistant Tyrone Corbin and Rockets assistant Elston Turner.
Flip Saunders, fired by Detroit earlier this week, has sent feelers about the Bulls' job. But it's not believed Paxson has much interest in Saunders.