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
“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
"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
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
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.
Self Not Interested in OSU
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