SALT LAKE CITY – If only someone had remembered to grab some photographic evidence of the event.
This picture would have really come in handy this week for the coaches for Northwestern and Vanderbilt basketball.
“I wish we would have taken a group photo if we would have known this was going to happen,” said Wildcats head coach Chris Collins of the historic run-in with friend and Commodores’ coach Bryce Drew.
Not that the coach’s meeting was something for the history books. But the event the were at certainly was – Game 4 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field. It was just the second such game for the Cubs in 71 years as the team made their historic run to a championship – and it just so happens that Drew along with Collins were there.
To be fair, it might have been hard for the Vanderbilt coach to recognize his coaching colleague from Northwestern.
“I had a full uniform on that night. He was dressed all nice, he had a nice shirt on and slacks. I had my Cubs jersey on, my hat on backwards, and maybe some eye black on,” said Collins of his attire. “He did a double take when I went and said hello to him. It was pretty funny.”
Drew concurred when asked about the meeting on Wednesday during the news conferences prior his Vanderbilt team’s first round match-up with Northwestern in Salt Lake City.
“My wife and I went to a Cubs World Series game, and getting a picture with the mascot and here comes Chris Collins in his Cubs jersey and his wife,” said Drew. “We talked there back in October.”
The man in the middle of this meeting? None other than the team’s mascot.
“We each took our photos with our wives with Clark the Cub,” said Collins. “Gave each other a hug, and said, Go Cubs, and kept it moving. It’s funny to think about that now.”
It would be incorrect to say that this was the first meeting between the two, since Collins and Drew have crossed paths during their coaching days outside of Wrigley Field.
“So we’ve always kind of connected because we come from basketball families. Our dads were coaches. We grew up in gyms and the game,” said Collins. “So we’ve always connected on that level and gotten along really well.”
That might change on Thursday since each other’s seasons depend on beating the other. Eight-seeded Northwestern has all the hype as they’ve finally qualified for their first-ever NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile Drew is taking Vanderbilt to the “Big Dance” for the first time as the head coach of the Commodores after five years at Valparaiso.
“Chris has always been great to me on the road, great to me whenever we talk. He sent me some encouraging texts this year,” said Drew of Collins. “He’s a great coach. He’s been really, really good to me.”
Now if they only had that photo.