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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

K-State coach fond of new Jayhawk boss

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No team has tormented Kansas State quite like Kansas University, and no coach had his way with the Wildcats quite like Roy Williams.

It's no wonder K-State coach Jim Wooldridge can't wait to see a new face on the opposing side of the Sunflower State Showdown.

"It's a changing of the guard," Wooldridge said Monday, just hours after former Illinois coach Bill Self was introduced as the Jayhawks' eighth head coach, succeeding Williams. "It'll be different. It'll be different for the Big 12, different for KU fans, different for me. But at the same time, coach Self will do an excellent job."

Wooldridge -- 0-for-7 against the Jayhawks as the Wildcats' coach -- knows of what he speaks. He and Self go way back.

Both are Oklahoma natives, and their paths have crossed several times since their childhood days in the Sooner State.

"We've known each other a long time," Wooldridge said. "He's from Edmond, Okla., and I'm from Putnam City. I'm about six, seven years older, but I've seen him play as a high school player and a college player. I (coached against) him when he was at ORU and I was at Southwest Texas. We don't have dinner every night, but we've known each other a long time."

Williams was 35-4 in his 15 seasons against the Wildcats.

Self will inherit a 26-game winning streak against KSU and a 20-game winning streak in Manhattan, a mystifying span of Jayhawk dominance that covered the entire KU coaching tenures of Williams and Larry Brown. Ted Owens was the last KU coach to lose in the Little Apple -- a 58-57 setback Jan 29, 1983.

Wooldridge isn't sure Self is the kind of coach who will see that streak end.

"He's a great coach," Wooldridge said. "It's not easy coming after the tenure of coach Williams, but Bill is a great coach. People really take to him. He's an outstanding coach, an outstanding recruiter. People really will be pleased with Bill Self. He obviously will be different than coach Williams, but I know Bill's teams will play hard and be fundamentally sound and play great defense. He didn't get where he is today because he's not a great coach."

Wooldridge admitted it would be unusual to prepare for the Jayhawks next season. After all, for the past 15 years, they've been a known quantity under Williams.

"To have one coach 15 years is very unusual in this world," Wooldridge said. "But Bill will come in and adjust just fine. The league is a little different, perhaps, and I don't know if he'll play any different than he did at Illinois, but they'll probably be similar. Bill has proven he can do it at this level. Basketball is basketball."

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