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June 1, 2012

Aki Collins Joins the Staff at Memphis

He's a hot young coaching prospect who's been coaching in the Big East for four seasons with the Marquette Golden Eagles. He's spent time in Conference USA before with Marshall. And he's the newest assistant coach for the University of Memphis men's basketball programs.

Meet David 'Aki' Collins.

There is a simple story behind the nickname, by the way.

"(Aki) is short for my middle name, Akiely," he explained. "My whole family calls me Aki except for my grandmother, she's the only person in my family that calls me David. But when I got to Colorado (to begin his coaching career), Terry Dunn was on our staff, and he and my godfather were really good friends.

"David Moe, Doug Moe's son, was on the staff, so instead of calling David and David, they called him David, since he was already there, and I went by Aki and then it just kind of took off from there."

Collins spent three (3) seasons in Colorado following his graduation from Clark Atlanta University. He began as a volunteer for one (1) year and then spent two (2) seasons as a full assistant coach. From Colorado, he moved to Howard University, where he stayed three (3) seasons as an assistant to head coach Frankie Allen.

Next up was a three-year stint at Marshall University, where he helped transition the school to Conference USA. This was followed by two (2) years at Fairfield of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and then the call to Marquette of the Big East. In his four (4) years at Marquette, the Golden Eagles earned a reputation as a strong recruiter, helping the school secure a consensus top-25 recruiting class for the Golden Eagles in two of the last three years.

The rabid Memphis fan base was a big part of the reason why Collins decided to come to the Bluff City.

"When I came Wednesday, we were walking through the Finch Center," he began, "and I (saw) a picture of Midnight Madness, and coach (Pastner) said, 'We had 17,000 hear last year for Midnight Madness.' And I thought it was a game. . . the seats were full. That was attractive."

It's not like Collins did not have other options. He has been interviewed for several assistant jobs and was even involved in a couple of mid-major head coaching searches.

"Last year, I was really involved with Louisville," he readily admitted. "But I knew we were gonna have a really good team at Marquette last year. I was a part of putting that team together and I didn't wanna leave those kids. I thought we were on the brink of going to the Final Four.

"We fell a little short, but we had the most wins, well second-most wins in school history last year, the most conference wins in school history. . . we went to the Sweet Sixteen for the second year in a row, the first time we've done that since the '70s. So the decision was right not to make that move last year, we just fell a little bit short."

The hiring completes Pastner's staff for 2012-'13, as Damon Stoudamire and Jimmy Williams are being retained. Click on the audio links below for the full press conference, which includes the introductory remarks from Pastner as well as Collins' entire interview.

In the first clip, Coach Pastner also took time to discuss the draft prospects of Will Barton and Wesley Witherspoon, the status of senior Charles Carmouche and several other matters.

Pastner introduces Collins

Aki Collins takes Memphis job

Leroy Watson, Jr. is the Managing Editor of TigerSportsReport.com, and may be reached via e-mail (leroy@tigersportsreport.com) or Twitter (@leroywatsonjr)

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