Monday, December 5, 2016


Tom Keegan: Another milestone on deck, burnout still nowhere in sight for Bill Self

Kansas head coach Bill Self hugs Travis Releford after the Jayhawks' 108-96 win over Iowa State in overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The win was Self's 500th.

Kansas head coach Bill Self hugs Travis Releford after the Jayhawks' 108-96 win over Iowa State in overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa. The win was Self's 500th.


Barring an upset, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self will earn his 600th victory in his 789th game, tonight vs. UMKC at Allen Fieldhouse, and will become the ninth-fastest in college basketball history to reach the milestone, per the NCAA Records Book.

Consider the eight names who reached it more quickly and then ask yourself what they have in common with each other, but not with Self. For those who can’t come up with it, I’ll put the answer later in this column.

The Fastest-to-600 Club (schools, games it took to reach the milestone): 1 - Adolph Rupp (Kentucky, 704), 2 - Jerry Tarkanian (Long Beach State, UNLV, 720), 3 - Roy Williams (Kansas, North Carolina, 739), 4 - John Wooden (Indiana State, UCLA , 755), 5 - Dean Smith (North Carolina, 773), 6 - John Calipari (Massachusetts, Memphis, Kentucky, 776), 7 - Henry Iba (Northwest Missouri State, Colorado, Oklahoma State, 777), 8 - Phog Allen (Baker, Haskell, Central Missouri, Kansas) 780.

Self, 53, shows no signs of slowing down, brings the same intensity to the job as ever, and always manages to keep burnout far from invading his space.

“I don’t think it’s been hard yet,” he said of keeping burnout at bay. “Roy did it for 15 years and then he left here and went to a place that’s just as competitive as it is here, so he’s been doing it for 28 years.”

Not that it’s an easy job without its relentless stress points.

“We have lived in the fast lane at Illinois and here, so it’s been a very competitive, adventure-filled, restless run, so to speak,” Self said. “But I don’t think the candle’s anywhere close to burning out. It may not shine quite as bright as it did 15 years ago, but certainly it still is something that burns inside for all of us, whether it be KT (assistant Kurtis Townsend) or myself or (assistant) Norm (Roberts), people who have been here a long time. We still have that burning desire to get back and make another run at it.”

The answer to the question of what the Fastest-to-600 Club members have that Self does not: Each of the eight coaches has been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and Self has not.

Just sayin’.


Len Shaffer 3 years, 9 months ago

Any day now ...

If KU wins it all this year, he's got to be in the next class, right?

John Randall 3 years, 9 months ago

Aside from the fact that I consider it idiotic to induct anyone before they have finished their career, Bill Self is as deserving as anyone on Keeg's list.

Suzi Marshall 3 years, 9 months ago

I doubt the fire will ever burn out within Bill Self. It's just part of his personality inherited from his father.

Humpy Helsel 3 years, 9 months ago

Dang those early years at ORU. They didn't help him or he might be up there a little higher on the Fastest to 600 list. You had to be around that program to fully appreciate how down the program was when he became head coach there. Three years and he had them in the NIT. Reminds of how down another program is right now which is trying to did itself out of a dark pit. The Tulsa World newspaper had the all time best headline of "Oral Roberts Names Self Coach." It isn't talked about as much, but he put some really good teams together at Tulsa University, also. I know TU fans who still are heart broken and angry when he left there to go to Illinois. If my memory serves me, he was on the short list for the Missouri job before they selected Quin Snyder. Now don't that just send chills down your spine thinking about that.

Dave Miller 3 years, 9 months ago

Adolph Rupp - Played / Asst. Coached at Kansas -- Roy Williams - Coached at Kansas / Asst. Coach to Dean Smith -- Dean Smith - Played at Kansas / (Asst. Coach at Kansas? I don't remember as of posting this) -- John Calipari - Asst. Coach at Kansas (same time as Coach Self did, I believe) -- Forrest C. "Phog" Allen - Played/Asst. Coach / Coached at Kansas while inventing the art and science of coaching Basketball while leaving a legacy ridden coaching tree with ties that reach far and wide.

Kansas basketball is just so full of tradition and history that it is overwhelming!

Al Martin 3 years, 9 months ago

And if you want to stretch this to the breaking point, John Wooden poured concrete on the north bowl of Memorial Stadium in 1927 as a summer job while Phog recruited him.

Tom Keegan 3 years, 9 months ago

Calipari was right before Self at Kansas.

Dave Miller 3 years, 9 months ago

Thank you. I wasn't exactly sure, and I'm not much of a John Calipari fan... ;)

Kent Wells 3 years, 9 months ago

If I remember correctly, Self replaced Calipari who went to Pittsburgh.

Cary Ediger 3 years, 9 months ago

If I am not mistaken Jerry Tarkanian and John Calipari both got in trouble with the NCAA.

Are the 38 wins he (Cal) had to vacate counted in the 776 ? A quick google search shows the Shark had the same with 71 vacated wins.

Chandler Accipiter 3 years, 9 months ago

They (Tark and Calipari) are not even the biggest cheats on the list. That distinction goes to Wooden. He wouldn't have even gotten to 600 without Sam Gilbert.

Marius Rowlanski 3 years, 9 months ago

I disagree. The biggest cheat is unfortunately Phog Allen disciple Adolph Rupp. He may have learned the game under Phog but not Phog's sense of fairplay and sportsmanship.

One thing I did notice in the list who reached 600 wins faster was the bloodline that started with Phog Allen and Kansas.

Harlan Hobbs 3 years, 9 months ago

Good points, Al and Dave. Hall of Fame and KU tradition. Can't get much better than that.

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