During his introductory press conference, Chris Collins said he would strive to work quickly in assembling his coaching staff.
After meeting with Bill Carmody's former assistants, he arrived at some difficult decisions. Fred Hill and Ivan Vujic will not return to Northwestern.
Multiple sources told Purple Wildcats that Collins is attempting to retain Tavaras Hardy. The associate head coach and former NU player is known for his excellent recruiting ability, and could return to the staff for an eighth season. Nothing has been confirmed regarding Hardy's status, however.
The dismissal of Hill and Vujic leaves vacancies for the first-time head coach to fill. A source told PW last week that Ohio State video coordinator Greg Paulus was likely to join Collins in Evanston. The list of potential candidates also includes Philadelphia 76ers assistant Brian James and Jon Scheyer, who played under Collins at Duke.
Hill joined the NU staff in June 2011 when Mitch Henderson left for the head coaching position at Princeton. The former Rutgers head coach cemented his reputation as a strong recruiter. He helped to procure the commitment of 3-star guard Jaren Sina from Gill St. Bernard's (N.J.).
When Carmody was fired, Sina re-opened his recruitment. The loss of Hill deals another blow to NU's chances with the highly-touted prospect. Sina told PW on Saturday that NU was part of his final four options, in addition to Alabama, Seton Hall and Indiana. Still, it was always considered unlikely that Collins' hiring decisions would be impacted by a single recruit.
With his impressive résumé that includes multiple successful stops as an assistant, Hill figures to catch on somewhere for the 2013-14 season.
Responsible for coaching team post players, Vujic had noticeable success in working with freshman center Alex Olah. Vujic formerly served as the director of basketball operations at DePaul and as an assistant on the 2007 USA Basketball U19 team. He is out after five seasons in Evanston — but still holds a promising future.
Collins hopes to decide on his three assistants before the critical 2014 recruiting process heats up. He's prepared to personalize his staff, and that had to come at the expense of two more coaches.