Schneider announces staff changes, hires Collins from ESU
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas head women’s basketball coach Brandon Schneider announced staff changes for the 2018-19 season Monday afternoon. Jory Collins will reunite with Schneider on the sidelines as an assistant coach for the Jayhawks, replacing Katie O’Connor, who resigned to pursue other opportunities outside of basketball.
Schneider and Collins previously worked together at Emporia State, where the duo guided the Lady Hornets to a Division II National Championship in 2010.
“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.”
Prior to joining Kansas, Collins spent the last eight seasons as the head coach at Division II powerhouse Emporia State. Collins took over the program in 2010 after three seasons as an assistant coach when Schneider left for Stephen F. Austin.
Brandon Schneider and Jory Collins after the 2010 Division II
In his eight seasons at the helm of ESU, Collins has led the Lady Hornets to seven 20-win campaigns, five MIAA Tournament Championships, seven conference title games, six NCAA Tournaments and six trips to the NCAA Sweet 16 including a berth in the 2015 NCAA Division II Final Four. As head coach of the Lady Hornets, Collins has a 199-58 record.
“I’m excited to be able to join Kansas women’s basketball,” Collins said. “To be able to coach the game at the greatest basketball school in the country, in the toughest league in the country is an opportunity you jump at as a competitor.”
During his tenure at Emporia State, Collins has recruited and coached the third-leading scorer, third-leading rebounder and leading shot blocker in school history.
The Lady Hornets rolled to an unprecedented fifth-straight MIAA Tournament title in 2017 and sixth-straight trip to the NCAA Division II Sweet 16. Collins is 34-9 in postseason play, with a 20-3 record in the MIAA Tournament and 14-6 mark in the NCAA Tournament. Collins is 38-20 against teams in the WBCA Top 25 and the Lady Hornets went 17-10 against top ten teams in his eight years as the Emporia State head coach.
In 2015, Emporia State broke through to the Elite Eight by defeating then-sixth-ranked Fort Hays State. It was the third time in four years that Collins’ team had defeated the regional hosts. The Lady Hornets then made their fourth Final Four in school history with a victory over West Texas A&M.
Collins was named the Russell Athletic/WBCA NCAA Division II Region 7 Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the Lady Hornets to a 30-4 record and third-straight regional championship game. Along the way, Collins led Emporia State to its second-straight MIAA Tournament Championship. He became the first coach in Emporia State and MIAA history to advance to four conference tournament and three regional tournament championship games in his first four years as a head coach.
Collins was a member of the Lady Hornet coaching staff for 10 seasons before becoming head coach and Emporia State advanced to the NCAA tournament in nine of those seasons.
Starting in 2000-01, Collins was involved in almost every aspect of the Lady Hornet program. He served as a practice player while a student/volunteer assistant from 2000-03. He returned to the program as a graduate assistant in 2004 after a year as a fifth grade teacher at Lowther South Intermediate School in Emporia. As a graduate assistant, he was responsible for the Lady Hornets strength and conditioning program, travel, film exchange and coordinating the fall and spring individual workouts.
He returned to the Lady Hornet bench for the start of the 2006-07 season as a volunteer coach and was promoted to full assistant in the spring of 2007. In addition to his recruiting efforts, Collins has been in charge different aspects of play on the court focusing on post play in 2009-10, scouting as well as strength and conditioning as a full assistant.
Originally from Holton, Kansas, Collins was a standout athlete who competed in both football and basketball for Holton High School. He received his bachelors of science in elementary education from Emporia State in 2002 and a master’s in educational administration from ESU in 2006.
Collins and his wife, Casey, have two sons, Jett and Jude.
O’Connor resigns from post at Kansas
After 12 years on the sidelines of Allen Fieldhouse, O’Connor will step down from her duties as an assistant coach with the Jayhawks to pursue new opportunities outside of college basketball.
“Katie devoted 12 years to Kansas women’s basketball, and we are extremely grateful for her hard work and dedication to the program,” said Schneider. “She is a terrific coach and an incredible person. We wish her success as she pursues other opportunities.”
During her tenure with KU, O’Connor mentored five All-Big 12 selections and three All-American Honorable Mention honorees. She helped the Jayhawks reach the postseason six times, including a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2013. Under O’Connor, seven Jayhawks reached the 1,000-point scoring mark during their careers.
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