Saturday, April 4, 2009

KU’s Self wins AP coach of year

Kansas University men's basketball earned a big award Friday when coach Bill Self won Associated Press Coach of the Year honors.


Kansas coach Bill Self took a long look at the college basketball coach of the year trophy he received Friday from The Associated Press and wondered how he would ever get through airport security on the way home.

“Don’t worry, we’ll ship it to you,” AP national college basketball writer Jim O’Connell told Self.

Self picked up quite a bit of hardware Friday morning as he toured the awards circuit at the Final Four. His day began at the Detroit Athletic Club, where he was presented the Henry Iba Coach of the Year award at the annual U.S. Basketball Writers Association breakfast. Then he traveled to the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center, where the AP held its awards ceremony.

Just a few days shy of the anniversary of KU’s national championship victory over Memphis in San Antonio, Self was honored for directing the Jayhawks to a 27-8 record, winning the Big 12 regular-season title for the fifth straight season, and advancing the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas did all that after losing the five starters from the championship team. Guard Sherron Collins and center Cole Aldrich were the only returning veterans and Self blended their talents with those of eight newcomers.

“This has been a very rewarding year for me personally and for our staff,” Self said as he accepted the AP award. “Expectations probably weren’t high. I don’t think this was a hall-pass year, but certainly expectations weren’t as high and our guys did perform at a pretty high level. But I would trade this award, as great as it is, for having a chance to cut down the nets again on Monday night.”

Self, 169-40 in six seasons at Kansas, won the AP award by an impressive margin. He received 28 votes from the same 71-member national media panel that selects the weekly AP Top 25. Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon was second with 10 votes and John Calipari, who left Memphis earlier this week to coach at Kentucky, received nine votes.

“Early in the season, I thought beating Washington and doing everything but beat Syracuse, was important,” Self said. “Jim (Boeheim) even told me he owes me dinner. But I thought we played at a really high level. We got off to a good start in the league but after we beat Baylor, I thought we can (mess) around and win the league. For that team to go 14-2, to me, is unbelievable.”

Self receives a $50,000 bonus for the AP award, based on incentives in his 10-year contract signed last year. He was also named Big 12 coach of the year and received national honors from the Sporting News, Yahoo! Sports, and


Gathering information

Self will begin the process of gathering information from NBA sources next Tuesday and then sit down with both Collins and Aldrich to discuss their plans.

“I talked to both of them them Tuesday and Wednesday and I told them I could not gather information until I got back from the Final Four,” said Self, who will not attend Monday night’s championship game. “I’m going to gather information from Tuesday through Friday and hopefully we can visit soon after that.

“Then they can have information that is somewhat more factual than what they have now. Right now, it’s just a lot of people saying a lot of stuff. I told them before they think or lean one way, you should know. They both are having the time of their lives. But if it’s best for them to go now, then they need to go. If it’s time to exercise a little patience, then they need to do that. But we won’t know that for a few days.”

Information from the NBA teams regarding draft position and evaluations are more than trustworthy, Self said.

“Every year, it has been right on,” he said.

Still waiting

Movement on the coaching carousel, especially John Calipari’s move from Memphis to Kentucky, has created quite a bit of uncertainty in the recruiting world. KU is still awaiting decisions from Lance Stephenson, who had planned on announcing his selection on Tuesday, and Xavier Henry, who signed a letter of intent with Memphis in November but is reconsidering. Point guard John Wall is still weighing his options as well.

Under NCAA rules, Self cannot comment on recruits until Kansas receives a signed letter of intent. But he admitted the situation adds to the uncertainty surrounding KU’s roster.

“I wouldn’t say it’s out of whack,” Self said. “It happens every year. Coaching changes create recruiting rumors too. There are some things that can happen, but who knows if they will.”

“We’ve added two good players (Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson) to a team that, if we don’t lose anybody, could be pretty good. There’s a lot of unknown with us with Cole, Sherron and recruiting.”

Self likes MSU, UNC

Self is picking Michigan State, the team that defeated KU in the tournament, and North Carolina to win today’s semifinal games at Ford Field. “Last year, I thought the stars were aligned for us to win it all,” Self said. “I think this year, if the stars are aligned for anybody, it will be Michigan State. And I think Carolina will win. They’re the most talented team here, but I think Villanova’s style could give them problems.”

Atta Boy, Roy

Self also said Kansas fans should be rooting for former KU coach Roy Williams and North Carolina this weekend.

“He did an awful lot for the university and brought a lot of joy to all of our fans. If they are holding hard feelings still, that means they’re probably still wishing he was here instead of me. Hopefully that’s not the case. What needed to happen, happened last year. Kansas and Carolina squared off in an important game. Regardless of who the winner was, I think that kind of helped it come to an end.”

Kansas jumped to a 40-12 lead on North Carolina on the way to an 84-66 national semifinal victory in San Antonio last year. Williams and the Tar Heels were asked about that performance on several occasions Friday.

“I’ve got some crazy sayings and one of them is that you can’t go out there and tiptoe through the tulips,” Williams said. “You have to be ready to plant your feet and make a stand. Last year we didn’t do that. I’m hopeful they understand. Hopefully they’ll be ready to go [Saturday] before the referee throws the ball up. . . .When we went out against Kansas, we looked around and said, ‘My goodness we’re in the Final Four.’ They hit us right in the mouth. It took us 15 minutes before we realized we were playing a game.”

This, that

Self confirmed he will be playing golf in Scotland on May 29 with a group of Kansas boosters. . . . After the AP ceremony, Self also received an offer to conduct a clinic in Greece this summer. .... Senior associate athletic director Larry Keating and associate athletics director for external affairs Jim Marchiony were in Detroit with Self. . . . Self joked that the biggest reason he received coach of the year honors was for holding AP Player of the Year Blake Griffin scoreless in KU’s game at Oklahoma. “Of course, he did have a concussion and didn’t play,” Self said.


Jonathan Allison 12 years, 1 month ago

Congrats Coach, this honor is well deserved!

I like how Aldrich in his second season out of HS is called a veteran, and even Collins in his third season. Unless they're talking about Matt Kleinmann...

chicagoeddie 12 years, 1 month ago

Congrats Coach!! You did a great job! Cant wait till next year.... (hopefully we can pull in the 5 star players lingering around)

Rock Chalk!

Gerard Martinez 12 years, 1 month ago

Congradulations coach Self! You did a great job with the team. Next season is going to be a good year for the Jayhawks. The guys really came around at the end. Can't wait til next season.

cklarock 12 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations Coach Self -- another well deserved award. Just when the Jayhawk Nation thought we couldn't appreciate you more . . . this season. What a fantastic job.

Hawkin8r 12 years, 1 month ago

Awesome job and well deserved! Congrats to HCBS!!!

hawk_clock 12 years, 1 month ago

2007-08 AP coach of the year for football: Mark Mangino 2008-09 AP coach of the year for basketball: Bill Self

Is there really any better school to be at right now? Two of the best coaches anywhere in the country that continue to show there abilities to progress this university! Great coaching mixed with an awesome student body and fan support! Throw in the student athletes that both coaches continue to bring through this university! Like always... Its a great time to be a Jayhawk!

kupark 12 years, 1 month ago

"Is there really any better school to be at right now?"

Yes, Florida!

NCAA Football National Champions: 2006 and 2008 NCAA Basketball National Champions: 2006 and 2007

I'm no UF fan, but reality check is always good.

Congrats to Bill Self, btw.

Andrew Moore 12 years, 1 month ago

Don't forget floridas back to back NIT bids. And their best player goes to draft anyway.

Rock chalk!

NYhawk13 12 years, 1 month ago

Yahhhh for Coach! Very well-deserved. So proud to be a Jayhawk!

jayhawkschick8885 12 years, 1 month ago

The honor is going to the best coach in America!!!! Wait to go Self!!! Rock Chalk!!

jhokfan 12 years, 1 month ago

Conference title, sweet 16, COY. Remember all the doubters who said we wouldn't even make it to the dance. Granted most of those were mizwho "fans". All in all a good season.

TigerJones 12 years, 1 month ago

What a crock. MU went further than KU in the tournament. MU won the Big 12 Tournament. KU was ranked around 20th at the start of the year, MU wasn't ranked in the top 40. Who deserved Coach of the Year? MIKE ANDERSON, of MISSOURI, that's who....

Steve Brown 12 years, 1 month ago

will tarheels win it all, trying to decide to root for them or not, could someone loan Roy a Crimson & Blue bird to wear on his jacket lapel. this weekend....last year was SO much year will also be fun, and you know what WINNING THE LEAGUE THIS YEAR was fun also...nice work Coach and thanks for being here....keep bringing in good kids and make them better...

WeAreTheChamps 12 years, 1 month ago

Maybe you should explain why a mizzou fan is on a KU website before you start bragging Jones.

USAF_J_Hawk 12 years, 1 month ago

I know I'm going a ways back in this thread, but could someone please remind the MIZZERY fan TigerJones what happend when his better coached team forgot to show up at Lawrence this season. Seriously Jones, I am unfortunate enough to have to live in the godforsaken state of MO so I don't blame you for visiting the KU website just to escape reality for a while, ROCK CHALK!

Michael Ales 12 years, 1 month ago

kupark, playin' in the NIT is not as much fun as the NCAA Tourney huh. Is that two years in a row?????? Go KU, You Da Man Coach Self!!!!

jhokfan 12 years, 1 month ago

There is a legit argument for Anderson and no doubt Self was the beneficiary of some name recognition but winning the Big 12 conference as oppossed to winning the Big 12 tourney carries more weight. We lost in Columbia at the buzzer and blew them out of the water in Lawrence. Case closed.

Michael Bratisax 12 years, 1 month ago

Well deserved and the right choice. Head Coach Bill Self did an amazing job this year and Coach Dixon was probably where he deserved to be but Missouri's Anderson had to be in the mix also. His players bought into his system and without any real stars made it all the way to the elite eight.

Dub_D 12 years, 1 month ago

Hands Down!!! BAMF indeed Rock CHALK!

LAJayhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

The most [un]surprising announcement of the week.......

Clearly very well deserved.

rawkhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

congratulations Bill Self! I know I'm biased, but I do think that Self was coach of the year do to his consistency in the Big 12 (a conference that has proven to be a tougher one than many had thought), in the NCAA tourney, and with his W-L record despite fluctuating personnel. He clearly knows how recruit, work with and develop players, and work with the personnel he has. RCJH--it's an honor to have such a great coach! Great work HCBS!

kufan1993 12 years, 1 month ago

Congrats! We are so lucky to have Coach Self as our coach! I wouldn't want it any other way. RCJH!!

KUbsee69 12 years, 1 month ago

HCBS = The best of the best of the best.

Mr_Sandman 12 years, 1 month ago

Well deserved for HCBS he is one of the best in the game, now if X or Lance would just make a decision to come to KU, then Bill can put the 2010 NC in his crosshairs.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

Dang! Just when I had decided the AP was full of a bunch of utterly incompetant sports commentators and reporters fawning over big media market programs and coaches, they do the right thing and pick Bill Self as COY. :-)

Rock chalk Jayhawk, Go Bill Self!

yates33333 12 years, 1 month ago

I am glad you, Coach Self, are here instead of Williams, but I won't cheer for UNC or ole' Roy. I hope Michigan State wins it all, and, if not, Villanova.

I think you deserved about twice as many votes as you got for coach of the year. You did something unbelieveable. You took one veteran and went to the sweet sixteen. Great job, Great coach.

Bruce Brock 12 years, 1 month ago

Congratulations to Coach Self!

Although this story is careful to specify that KU lost the five starters of the championship game, most writers don't give Self and staff enough credit when they say KU lost only five starters. When one looks at the season as a whole, not to mention the fast style of play that depends on frequent substitution over who the first five guys on the floor happen to be, one should note that we lost six starters: Chalmers, Robinson, Rush, Arthur, Jackson and Kaun.

All were essential to the season and the march to the title. I don't remember which five started the championship game, as that bit of information is useless trivia.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 1 month ago

Tired of taking the high road on Misery posters...TigerJones can suck it.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago


I am with you on Bill Self. He has done it. His players have either been cleared of misbehavior, or left because of it, and the players who have remained have shown the kind of toughness and teamwork that Self advocates and that his staff has shown. Self has triumphed over early doubters like myself in showing that his brand of ball was as well suited to KU as anywhere else. He has reached wisely into the traditon of Kansas basketball in ways perhaps only a midwesterner could have. The most amazing thing to me about Self is that he had the strength of personality and coaching skill to overcome the huge shadow of Roy Williams by equalling his winning percentage and winning a ring, which Roy could not do. It is probably unprecedented for a coach to replace a great coach and equal and then exceed him.

Cal, for all the fanfare, is still trying to win a ring. I am not as negative about Calipari as you perhaps are, but I am just as bullish as you on Self being the coach I would much rather have at KU, so long as chooses to stay with KU. Self has achieve what I thought impossible, after Roy. Okie Ball and all, fractured syntax and all, Bill Self is the latest great KU basketball coach--and we have been blessed with several--and he is the man who put The Legacy on his back and carried it. Few men could have done it under the circumstances he arrived under.

To coach at KU is not just to carry forward the legacy of a successful university basketball program like UNC, or UK, or UCLA. It is to carry forward the legacy of basketball itself.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

Though the steadily expanding television coverage is largely responsible for the popularity of college basketball, there are underlying drivers for the popularity of the game that have to be present for TV to disseminate the magic of the game.

Driver 1 is an unbroken link with The Legacy of the game; that is where KU comes in. It is not a coincidence that basketballs huge growth the last 20 years has coincided with the resurgence of KU basketball to near constant excellence. When KU is successful, the game has a living connection with its origin.

Driver 2 is an unbroken link with the poor kids of America--whatever their color--who choose to play this game as not just a game, but as an act of survival. By this I do not mean just with the dream of being like Mike, or only to try to get rich one day, though these certainly are sub-drivers for sure. But the key is that poor kids still love the game and see it as an activity that they can find self expression and excellence and joy from.

Driver 3 is an unbroken link with the rest of the kids in America--both those who are young now and those of us who old but insist on keeping a small part of us young inside with our own love of the game.

The game has continued to connect with and breath anew all that is good about the game, even in spite of its unfortunate embrace of so much violence and so much crass materialism.

The game has not yet been totally corrupted and disconnected from its roots.

Bill Self taking the KU program on his back and breathing new life into it, hybridizing it with the Okie Baller legacy, infusing it with his contagious and joyful and emotional and calculating and cunning and crafty and brilliant and skillful and funny and authentic and tirelessness has not only made all the difference for KU these last few years, but indirectly for the game of basketball.

Basketball knows its daddy.

Its daddy has not left the game.

Its daddy is sometimes difficult to reconcile with. It is not in the ideal part of the country for TV, or for most of the poor kids who play the game. It is kind of midwestern cornball in an age of slick cynicism and urban chic. It is a constant reminder that the American game came from a Canadian, not an American, etc., etc.

But the daddy stayed and struggled to stay apart of the life of his offspring and he has succeeded in doing so.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago

In a day and age when daddies and men are under assault form all angles, and generally blamed for all that is wrong with our society in the media, this daddy is still getting up in the morning and competing and saying excellence matters and I am not quitting.

This is why the media come to KU and are amazed and rejuvenated by what they experience here. This is why despite their often superior attitudes and their frequent under-reporting of KU basketball, that they recognize greatness in the middle of Eastern Kansas in a small river on a small tributary in the mother river system of the continent.

The daddy of basketball is here and the daddy is not on life support, or in a home just recalling past glory.

The daddy is competing at the highest level against some pretty long odds.

I only hope KU can find yet another fine coach some day, when Bill Self gives and accomplishes what he has to give and accomplish to The Legacy.

Until then, rock chalk Bill Self.

Regarding Okie Ball and Nolan Richardson and Anderson, I cannot help but wonder if Bill Self ever looks at what Richardson and Anderson have done with Okie Ball and considers moving in that direction with an exceptionally deep maybe next years bunch? :-)

I doubt that he does. Eddie never did and he had a lot of chance to evaluate Richardson's evolution of Don Haskin's evolution of Iba Ball. Eddie grokked the game on a deep level. So does Bill.

Still, Bill Self has been so flexible and creative over the years with the full court pressing team he had at Tulsa, to the muscle ballers at Illini, to the wide variety of approaches he has already taken at KU, I keep thinking some year, before he leaves KU, he might just surprise the heck out of everyone and come out full court pressing like crazy. I know 100 will make me do 100 hail marys for even suggesting such a thing, but hey, sometimes a guy has got to pose the question: would Bill Self ever coach a full court game?

Jocelyn Kennedy 12 years, 1 month ago

I wholeheartedly agree with ralster - Hansbrough is the only reason I can't root for UNC yet. As far as I am concerned all hurt feelings were satisfied with the beat down last year of which I was privileged enough to attend and stand in awe with all the other JHawk fans. But as for the COY choice - seems a no-brainer - who of us thought we could possibly have done this well at the beginning of this season? That's good coaching! How many times were we in a substantial deficit and came back? That's good coaching!!! Way to go Bill - we love you!

actorman 12 years, 1 month ago

It's amazing to me how many people still don't realize that the COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD (and other awards) IS BASED ON THE REGULAR SEASON, NOT THE NCAA TOURNAMENT!!! So Tigerjones, it wouldn't matter if Misuse had won the national championship and KU had lost in the first round, that would still have no effect on the award. And although Anderson did a fine job and deserved to be in the mix, he clearly didn't accomplish what Self did in the regular season, and thus did not deserve to win.

actorman 12 years, 1 month ago

And oh, BTW, there's no way I'll root for UNC. It doesn't have anything to do with Roy; we put all that behind us last year. But there's only one team that KU fans should be rooting for. The reason:

UNC - 4 championships KU - 3 Michigan State - 2 UConn - 2 Villanova 1

Villanova is the only team that wouldn't either catch up to us or pull further ahead in NCAA titles. That's reason enough to say (for one of the few times in my life) GO 'CATS!

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago


yates33333 is a thoughtful, plain spoken, straight shooter. I believe it is within your power, if you are not a Tar Hole Lurker, to disagree with him without ad homming.

If it is not within your power, then I can only conclude that you are projecting about being a moron and an ingrate.

Here's what I think we all ought to be focusing on and being proud of.

KU men head UNC and UK. Roy says he has divided loyalties and I take him at his word. He's part KU man and he heads UNC; that passes the litmus test for me. And now that I've had a few days to reflect, I'm glad UK hired Calipari. Whether KU people feel an attachment to Cal, or not, he is one of our guys. He worked for KU very early and very briefly under LB. It counts. And every family has black sheep, if that were how one felt about Cal. Certainly, Adolph Rupp was a black sheep of Allen's legacy and certainly there was no love lost between Allen and Rupp as Rupp ascended to eclipse Allen in certain ways. It is only history repeating itself with some variation that UK would be turned around by a KU man. I had hoped Gillispie would be that person via an indirect link to Self, but the truth is Gillispie was never at KU with Self (as I was so roundly reminded quite some time ago). He was a Tulsa and Illini assistant. So: let's just say that Gillispie's connection to KU was just too indirect to turn around UK. Cal at least drew a pay check at KU, though he was just a graduate assistant for a year or so (as was Self). Cal can turn it around, though perhaps he will be undone by certain skeletons as some of our astute observers point out.

Now, back to Roy. We all agree that as much as we liked Roy, and he is already one of the great coaches of all time, we have found a better fit with Bill Self.

Ain't it grand.

A part of me feels very competitive with Roy and doesn't want him to get another ring before KU gets another.

But Roy stood up and wore the mythical bird on his black shirt and took the heat from his tobacco road culture last year.

I'm going to root for Roy, even though I think MSU is going to win the game and perhaps handily.

UNC had a very tough time last year with KU's size last year, even though it roared back and made a game of it.

I think MSU is even bigger and deeper than KU was last year. KU had more exceptional players last year than MSU has this year. But in the age of violence, depth, defense, muscle, fast transition to defense and 38% trey shooting are the coins of the realm, and not highly skilled impact players, as once was the case.

If the refs call a close game, I reckon UNC wins.

But if it is let'em play as usual, then I reckon MSU will get the better of Roy's thoroughbread Mickey Ds.

Dan Pawlowski 12 years, 1 month ago

Yes Calipari was an assistant at Kansas briefly under LB. Yes Adolf Rupp was a Kansas Alum. But past that it is difficult for me to claim them. I like to think of Kansas man as one does it right and treats people with dignity and respect. Phog Allen - Kansas Man. Dean Smith - Kansas Man. Roy Williams Kansas Man Bill Self - Kansas Man.

jaybate 12 years, 1 month ago


Your taste in Kansas men is impeccable. I would add James Naismith.

But The Legacy is not The Partial Legacy. It is The Legacy. Good, bad and indifferent. Long tenure, or short tenure.

FairgroveJayhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

Self is the clydesdale of basketball.

The others: shetlands and donkeys.

Good Job

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