A familiar face is joining the KU staff.
KU women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider announced Monday that Emporia State coach Jory Collins would be coming to KU as an assistant.
Collins served as an assistant coach at Emporia State for three seasons before being awarded the head coaching job. He’ll fill the vacancy left by the departure of Katie O’Connor, who “resigned to pursue other opportunities outside of basketball” after 12 years at KU, according to a release.
"I couldn't be happier that Jory is joining our coaching staff," said Schneider. "He obviously has first-hand experience with our philosophy and approach, but I also believe he will bring a fresh perspective to our team. He is a tremendous teacher of the game and an outstanding recruiter. He will make a positive impact in all phases of our program."
KU and Emporia State have played twice in Schneider’s time as head coach at KU. After the meeting earlier this season — KU defeated ESU, 69-49 — Schneider praised the way Collins had led the Hornets’ program.
Schneider coached Emporia State until 2010, when Collins took over the program.
“Their culture and what Jory has done there,” Schneider said after the earlier meeting, “you’re going to play against well-coached kids who are going to execute and who are going to be really tough.”
Collins, who was on Schneider’s staff when the Hornets won a D-II National Championship in 2010, had praise for his KU counterpart as well.
“Well, I don’t know that it’s coming as fast as (Schneider) wants it to, but I know it’s going to get there,” Collins said. “There’s just no doubt in my mind. I know what kind of coach he is and the caliber of coach that he is. … He’s just a terrific leader and terrific teacher of the game as an ultimate competitor. It’s going to be fun around here real quick.”
Collins, who led Emporia State to seven 20-win seasons, six trips to the D-II Sweet 16 and one to the Final Four, said he was excited to be joining the program at Kansas.
The Jayhawks finished their 2017-18 campaign at 12-18 (3-15 in Big 12 play), falling in the first round of the Big 12 tournament to rival K-State.
"To be able to coach the game at the greatest basketball school in the country, in the toughest league in the country,” Collins said, “is an opportunity you jump at as a competitor."