The Edmond Sun
OKLA. CITY —
A graduate of Edmond High School and the current head basketball coach at the University of Kansas, Bill Self never thought he would see a Monday evening like this one.
On Monday night, his father, Bill Self Sr., presented Bill Jr. into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
“When I was growing up in Edmond — what a great community to grow up in — I was just working hard trying to get a scholarship,” Self said at the pre-ceremony press conference.”
Self did just that, landing a spot at Oklahoma State University under then head coach Paul Hansen.
Bill began coaching as the eighth assistant at Kansas before becoming an assistant at Oklahoma State under Leonard Hamilton and later Eddie Sutton. He started his head coaching career at Oral Roberts, walked over to the University of Tulsa and then stopping in Illinois before continuing great success beginning in 2003 at Kansas, where he won a national championship in 2008 and added another Final Four appearance in 2012.
Self was named AP Coach of the Year in 2009 and the Naismith College Coach of the Year in 2012.
“It is an honor for me to be here,” he said. “It is indeed a thrill — I’m very proud.”
Self was inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame along with Wayne Baughman, national champion wrestler and three-time Olympian; Clay Bennett, Chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder and instrumental in getting Oklahoma City an NBA franchise; Nadia Comaneci, multiple Olympic gold-medalist gymnast from Romania who has lived in Oklahoma for over 20 years; Leroy “Ace” Gutowsky, professional football player who played at Oklahoma City University in the 1930s; Jimmy Harris, an OU quarterback who went 31-0 during Oklahoma’s 47-game win streak and John Henry Ward, a professional football player who excelled in wrestling as well at Oklahoma State.
Bill paid his dues, working his way up to one of the most prominent college coaching positions in the country and he still filters down solid work ethics to his players.
“Things have changed,” Self stated. “If things go bad, you transfer,” he grinned.
“It is the foundation, the core beliefs. The harder you work, the better you get.
“At Kansas, our team is supported by juniors and seniors and they don’t get to contribute on the floor much in their freshman and sophomore years.”
Self has led the Jayhawks to eight Big XII regular season championships.
“Oklahoma molded me into who I am. I lived in this state for a long time and it will always be home. Never, is that going to change.”