Saturday, August 9, 2003

Self’s showmanship shines at coaching school


— Kansas University hired Bill Self to coach basketball players, not other coaches.

But Friday, the Jayhawks' new skipper spent his morning dissecting basketball strategies with more than 1,400 coaches during his keynote speech at the 71st annual Kansas State High School Activities Assn. coaching school at the downtown Ramada Inn.

"I'd rather just talk than talk X's and O's," said Self, who addressed coaching strategy, told stories from his playing days and fired jokes.

During Self's diagramming of a secondary break, he forgot the terminology of the play -- but quickly made amends.

"What do you call areas of three?" Self said, asking the audience for help.

"You mean thirds, coach?" someone replied.

"Yep, duh," Self said, fighting back a smile and cracking: "That's why I'm from Oklahoma."

Friday wasn't completely about laughs, though. Nearly every coach scribbled Self's diagrams in their playbooks.

But Self said the key to success was not overanalyzing.

"I think the big thing is that you sometimes make the game more complicated than what it is," Self said. "You have to find something you believe in and go with it and not try to make changes all the time."

Self said he took more Friday from the attending coaches than anything he could teach them.

"I can learn as much as they can," Self said as he signed autographs and exchanged handshakes from a line of well-wishers between two hour-long speeches. "There's so many ways to get it done, it's fun to share and bounce ideas off of each other."

KSHSAA executive director Gary Musselman said he was happy Self decided to honor the commitment -- Self was originally booked while coach at Illinois.

"We wanted him back then, because he was a kind of local successful guy that most of our coaches knew and could learn from," Musselman said. "I think that he wanted to come out and get to know some of the coaches in the state since he will be working with them in recruiting.

"We were glad it all worked out, and I think all the coaches really enjoyed it."

Self agreed. Friday was just another whirlwind day as KU's coach.

"I really haven't met a whole lot of people from across the state, because I've been so busy recruiting and stuff," Self said. "Things have been great. I'm excited. I just wish I could have been around more things like today."

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