This was inevitable. You coach your school to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, win a game in the tournament, flirt with getting to the Sweet 16 and become a national story in the process, then yeah, you're getting paid.

So on Tuesday, officially, Northwestern's Chris Collins got paid. The school jointly announced renegotiated contracts for Collins and for NU football coach Pat Fitzgerald, who's long been considered a lifelong-type guy for the Wildcats football program. 

In this regard, it's an exceptional day for that athletic department. Northwestern's athletic department is set up to have the coaches of its long-term future (barring big-time jobs coming in and poaching them) for the next near-decade. Collins' new deal is through the 2024-25 season and reportedly worth north of $3 million annually. 

Collins has a 73-60 record in his coaching career. The Wildcats went 24-12 last season, earned a No. 8 seed and defeated Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. NU's 24 wins was a single-season program record, and the team getting 10 regular-season wins in Big Ten play matched the program mark — last done in 1933. 

"My family and I could not be more excited to be a part of the Wildcats community for many years to come," Collins said. "I have absolutely loved coaching here, the support that we've received from the University, its leadership and our fans has been exceptional. We love being a part of the Northwestern family and we can't wait to continue building on the foundation established over the last four seasons." 

One stat that nails how big Collins has been to Northwestern: The program has won 20 games or more in a season only four times ever. Half of those have come in the past two years. 

In 2017-18, Collins should win 20 games for the third season, by the way. Most everyone returns, so we've got NU ranked 16th in our Way Too Early Top 25 (and one)