Kansas might have gone through this year Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins-less after he was the No. 1 NBA Draft pick following last season, but that didn’t stop the Jayhawks from having another strong season. They received a No. 5 preseason ranking, clenched the regular season Big 12 championship, finished out the season as the 8th-ranked team in the nation and were seeded No. 2 in the Midwest region for the tournament.
While they have a slightly different roster than fans saw last year during March Madness, they do have a coach who knows a bit or two about putting together a winning lineup.
Get to know Jayhawks Head Coach Bill Self:
1. Self Has Coached the Jayhawks to a Regular Season Conference Title 11 of His 12 Seasons
Self, 52, started his Kansas coaching career in 2003 – making him just the eighth coach to take the helm of the Jayhawks program. Since taking over the team, Self has won the 2008 NCAA national title, a KU record-setting 11 straight regular season Big 12 Conference titles, which tie him for third all-time in NCAA Division I history, and six Big 12 tournament championships.
He has more conference titles than home court losses – Self posts an all-time record of 175-9 in Allen Fieldhouse. He is also one of three active coaches who have led three different team to the Elite Eight round of the tournament – Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Kentucky’s John Calipari are the other two.
While at Kansas, Self was named 2012 Naismith College Coach of the Year, 2009 AP Coach of the Year, Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2012, and received the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award in 2013. And from 2006 to 2012, Self had the best six-year record of any men’s basketball coach in Division I history.
2. Self Is the Fourth Highest Paid College Basketball Coach
After his playing career at Oklahoma State University, Self began as an assistant coach at Kansas in 1985 before returning to his alma mater as an assistant the following year. He stayed at OSU until 1993 when he was offered the head coaching position at Oral Roberts University. Self then moved on to be a head coach at Tulsa in 1997, then Illinois in 2000 and finally Kansas in 2003.
Self’s $4,960,763 per year salary with the Jayhawks makes him the fourth highest paid coach in college basketball, according to Business Insider. He sits behind Kentucky’s John Calipari (No. 3), Louisville’s Rick Pitino (No. 2) and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (No. 1).
3. Self Talked With the Cleveland Cavaliers About Their Coaching Vacancy
Last year, Self coached the 2014 No. 1 NBA Draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, and the No. 3 pick, Joel Embiid.
Embiid was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers and Wiggins was picked by the Cleveland Cavaliers, who, at the time, were looking for a new head coach.
And naturally rumors began to spin about discussions between the Cavs and Self. But the Kansas coach quickly laid those to rest. KUsports.com reported that Self told the Journal-World that he spoke in “general terms” with the organization’s front office about the job. He said:
I talked to the Cavaliers a lot through this whole draft process concerning Andrew (Wiggins) and Joel (Embiid) and other things. We visited about the job. At no point in time was there any serious discussion about anything. We visited in general but no serious discussions about it or anything like that.
When asked how many NBA teams had contacted him in the past, Self said:
Not many. This one wasn’t a serious deal because the bottom line is, I made it very clear where I was, and it was just an information-gathering deal.
Although the Cavs were also interest in Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Alvin Gentry, Tyronn Lue and offered Calipari an $80 million contract for 10 years, the Cavs filled the vacancy on June 20 with David Blatt.
4. Self Has the Third Most Twitter Followers of any College Basketball Coach
Prior to the 2013-14 season, Sporting News reported that Self was fourth on the list of current college basketball coaches with the most Twitter followers – 79,000.
Since then he’s increased to 122,000 followers, which bumped him up to No. 3 on the list. Self bypassed Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan and falls under Indiana’s Tom Crean (149,000) and Kentucky’s John Calipari (1.34 million).
5. Self Met His Wife Cindy While Attending Oklahoma State University
In 1984, after a loss to Kansas, Self met Cindy. They both attended Oklahoma State University – she was a cheerleader and he was a 6-foot-3 basketball player for the Cowboys. The two dated for four years before tying the knot in 1988.
Cindy’s passion is helping children. She has her master’s degree in elementary education and has been very active in charity, which led her and Self to found the ASSISTS foundation in 2006, which focuses on helping the community’s youth, according to PlayerWags.com.
Cindy and Self also have two children. Their son Tyler is a redshirt sophomore walk-on for the Jayhawks.
And their daughter Lauren, who also attended KU and graduated in 2013, works for the Christian ministry Young Life in Richardson, Texas. She also recently got married to Hayden Browning on August 16, 2014.
When asked about giving away his daughter’s hand in marriage, Self told KUsports.com:
I’m as fired up as a dad can be giving away his daughter, but, yeah, I’m fired up. We think the world of Hayden.