Self Not Interested in OSU

With Sean Sutton's resignation as Oklahoma State head coach announced earlier in the day, KU's Bill Self ended up answering several questions about the opening in Stillwater.

KU’s Bill Self, who will be coaching in his first Final Four this weekend, was forced to take timeout from questions about preparation to field questions about a rumor that once again resurfaced on Tuesday.

Sean Sutton’s resignation as Oklahoma State head coach was announced just two hours before Self was to take the podium for Tuesday’s news conference at Hadl Auditorium. The timing wasn’t great that’s for sure but the KU head coach knew, thanks to a fan’s warning, that dealing with the issue was a possibility on Tuesday. Self’s first reaction was to speak to Athletics Director Lew Perkins about the news that was about to break about Sutton.

By the time the Oklahoma State grad reached the podium Self was still unsure if the official word had come down in Stillwater. Once he was informed that it was in fact truth and not just rumor he was asked about the possibilities of going back to his roots.

“I do care deeply about my alma mater. I spent 11 years of my life at OSU. Nobody from there has contacted me, and if they did, I would strongly recommend that they move in a different direction,” said Self convincingly.

The whole scene conjured up memories of the impossible situation Roy Williams faced in 2003 when he was coaching Kansas in the Final Four. Ol’ Roy couldn’t dodge the questions and was being mentioned as a possible replacement in North Carolina. We all know how that one went.

There were no expletives used in this press conference. Self did in fact speak fondly of his alma mater and the possible lure of returning home. .

“If your home is a nice place- or if you didn't like where you grew up, you probably wouldn't want to move back- but if you loved where you grew up, then I can certainly understand why that would be a draw to anybody, but I can't speak for everybody,” Self said.

It should be mentioned that this isn’t the first time this has come up. Each time the subject has been broached Self has deflected it as a possibility in the near future. He’s never said never and made sure not to pull a Nick Saban – it clearly might be an option some day at some point but right now Self has one focus and that’s Kansas.

"I don't want to be presumptuous, but it could happen,” said Self when asked about whether or not he thought Oklahoma State would contact him. “I would tell them right now that they shouldn't based on my situation here and how much I like being at the University of Kansas."

Speculation has surfaced about just how much Boone Pickens just might throw at a coach such as Self and the numbers have been estimated in the three million dollar range. That’s just a drop in the bucket for the billionaire alum. Pickens will stop at nothing to help the Cowboys reach an elite level and ideally OSU would add another alum as the next coach. Cowboys’ AD Mike Holder will be making his first big-time hire since taking over in 2005, and is aware his team has been coached by an alum every year since 1990. You can bet Pickens and OSU will take a serious stab at Self despite his plea for them to stay away.

On the flip side, Self will likely earn a raise after this and Lew Perkins is more than determined to keep Self on the KU sideline for many years to come.

“We've talked about a lot of scenarios. Lew and I talk all the time about anything and everything. The bottom line is, you'd have to ask him, but we have a very good relationship. We've said all along that when the season is over we're going to evaluate what's going on, but I'll let him answer any questions,” said Self.

“I don't anticipate, just because this happens at this time, that we change our game plan. Our game plan is that when the season's over, Lew and I get together and make sure that this is a great fit for everybody and I certainly anticipate that being the case."

Right now Self’s job is to do his best to diffuse the situation and not let it be a distraction to him or his players.

“I guess there is a concern because I'm sure it will draw attention, but it won't be a distraction to me, not in the least, and it won't be with our players,” Self continued. “I will visit with our players this afternoon about you guys asking them questions about this and go over everything, but I don't see that being a distraction with them either."

I understand why schools put the opening out there before the Final Four which tends to be a terrific forum for athletic directors to conduct coaching searches, but it seems like a shame when a guy who just reached his first Final Four spends a good chunk of time answering questions about a job he’s not currently interested in.

It’s becoming a yearly occurrence at Final Four and maybe it’s a problem the NCAA needs to nip in the bud. It would seem that a rule that prevents anyone from contacting coaches at this time would be a smart one to institute.

"I have no idea,” said Self when asked if a rule should be instituted. “But I will tell you this, you bring up a good point because who says that schools are contacting anybody? If I'm not mistaken, Billy Donovan went through it last year throughout the entire NCAA Tournament because Kentucky was open. I bet you Kentucky wasn't contacting Billy, but it was a story and the media made it out to be a story that never had any legs and I would anticipate this being the case if it goes in that direction."

Wait until all the national media gets a crack at the KU coach in San Antonio. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee when or if Self will ever take a job in Stillwater but I can guarantee this won’t be the last time Self has to field a question about the Oklahoma State position this week. Top Stories