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    UIC Extends Jimmy Collins' Contract
     

     
    Jimmy Collins has signed on to coach the UIC men's basketball program through 2003.
     
    Jimmy Collins has signed on to coach the UIC men's basketball program through 2003.
     
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    July 10, 2000

    Chicago, Ill. - University of Illinois at Chicago Director of Athletics Jim Schmidt has extended the contract of head men's basketball coach Jimmy Collins, pending Illinois Board of Trustees approval at their July meetings. The move would keep Collins at UIC through the 2002-2003 season.

    "Coach Collins has done everything we've asked of him and has built the base to develop a long-term quality program," remarked Schmidt. "Our academics are stronger and our competitive future is extremely bright with our most recent recruiting class. We are looking forward to the next step in our maturing men's program."

    Collins, who is entering his fifth season at the helm of the men's basketball program, owns a 55-61 (.474) record with the Flames while guiding UIC to the 1998 NCAA Tournament, the school's first-ever appearance. The 1997-98 squad was his most successful, tying the school record for wins in a season with 22 while capturing a share of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference regular-season title.

    "We're very happy about the two-year extension," Collins commented on his program's reaction to the new deal. "We feel very confident that we are going to make things happen over the next two years both academically and athletically."

    After a pair of rebuilding campaigns, Collins has bolstered his lineup for the 2000-01 season with perhaps the program's most highly touted recruiting class. Headlining the newcomer group, is Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year Cedrick Banks (Chicago, Ill./Westinghouse) and all-state teammate Martell Bailey (Chicago, Ill./Westinghouse), as well as all-state honoree Aaron Carr (Chicago, Ill./Lincoln Park).

    Besides the talented crop of fresh faces, UIC, which finished the 1999-2000 season with an overall record of 11-20, welcomes back eight returnees to the program, including starters Maurice Brown (Syracuse, NY/Henninger), Cory Little (Addison, Ill./Addison Trail) and Joe Scott (Palos Hills, Ill./Stagg).

    Collins' crew will have its work cut out for it next season, though, as they embark on one of the program's most aggressive schedules. The Flames' non-conference slate includes five dates with teams that competed in last year's NCAA Tournament, including tilts with defending national champion Michigan State, sister-school Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Iowa State. UIC will also battle tournament-tested Saint Louis and Oregon, along with Midwest rivals Southern Illinois, Central Michigan and Chicago State prior to beginning its league schedule.

    "Coach Collins has cooperated in every aspect of working with the administration and hasn't backed off of our philosophy to play a great non-conference schedule each year," stated Schmidt. "Most coaches fear that."

    UIC is coming off its most successful year ever as an athletic program, capturing its first-ever MCC all-sports award, the James J. McCafferty Trophy, at the end of the 1999-2000 season.