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New Mexico Sports

Jimmy Collins, who helped NMSU reach the NCAA Final Four in 1970, dies at age 74

NMSU Athletics

CHICAGO, Illinois — Jimmy Collins, who played basketball for Lou Henson at New Mexico State from 1967-70 and helped the Aggies reach the NCAA Tournament's Final Four in his last season, died Sunday morning. He was 74.

Collins was drafted 11th overall by the Chicago Bulls coming out of NMSU and later coached Illinois-Chicago to the NCAA tournament three times in 14 seasons.

Collins led UIC to a 218-208 record from 1996 to 2010. The Flames posted four 20-win seasons and made the program’s only NCAA tournament appearances in 1998, 2002 and 2004.

Collins spent 13 seasons as an assistant under Henson at Illinois and was one of the main architects of the 1988-89 “Flyin’ Illini” squad that won 31 games and reached the Final Four. He also recruited Deon Thomas, Illinois’ career scoring leader and a former UIC assistant.

Collins is survived by his wife Hettie and children Erica, Kenny, Semaj and Brandi.

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Associated Press



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