"This is home now..."

Kansas head coach Bill Self to stay at KU, turning down an offer to coach at Oklahoma State. Details inside.

The celebration just keeps getting better for Kansas basketball.

Three days after winning the national title, KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins and Chancellor Robert Hemenway announced at a Thursday press conference that KU coach Bill Self has agreed to a contract in principle which will keep him in Lawrence “for years to come.”

Both Perkins and Hemenway were thrilled about Self’s decision to turn down Oklahoma State’s head coaching position and remain a Jayhawk.

“I am pleased and proud not only because Bill Self has led the Jayhawks to so many victories over the past five years,” Hemenway said, “but also because he has represented this University  —  and I want to stress this — he has represented this University with class and grace since the day he set foot on this campus. Bill is exactly the right person for Kansas basketball.”

“The NCAA Championship, the Elite Eights, the numerous Big 12 titles, all of that is great,” Perkins added. “But as the Chancellor indicated, Bill's value to this University goes far beyond that. He represents us with class — on and off the court — and I can't think of another coach I'd rather be sitting next to today.”

Perkins said the contract details will be completed in the next few weeks. He wouldn’t give specifics, but said Self will be “compensated at the highest level.”

Self said he met with Oklahoma State Athletics Director Mike Holder in Kansas City on Wednesday evening, and then told him of his decision to stay at Kansas around 12:30 on Thursday.

Unlike North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, the former KU head man who returned to his alma mater in 2003, Self couldn’t be drawn back home to the school where he was a player and assistant coach for 11 years. He hopes to stay at KU for the rest of his career.

“Home called, and we love home,” Self said. “But this is home now. ... I not only felt obligated, but I wanted to visit with Mike Holder at my alma mater about the vacant coaching position. Not because I was looking to leave, but because I do have a true affection for Oklahoma State University.

“There was never serious interest on our part in leaving the University of Kansas, but there was serious interest in listening and hopefully helping Oklahoma State University in a way that would put their basketball program in a position that they want it to be in. (I) came to the conclusion that I felt all along — the time is right for my family to be in Lawrence, Kansas, and to lead this program, hopefully, to bigger and better things in the future."

"My mind has been largely made up since I came here five years ago,” Self added about not leaving KU for OSU.

Interestingly, Self said Holder never brought up money during their conversation.

“It never came up and I certainly respect Oklahoma State for how they handled it,” Self said. “It was a situation that (he said), ‘You decide if you want this for you and your family, and if you (do), then we'll get down to business.’ But money never came up, there was not a negotiating ploy or anything like that."

After meeting with Perkins on Wednesday and Thursday, Self was as positive as ever that he would have the security and needed resources to compete for championships every year.

“We know that we are deficient in some areas (regarding facilities), but the commitment is there to eliminate those deficiencies. We know that's going to get done,” Self said. “We just want to be the best of the best so we can recruit the best of the best.”

And that’s exactly what Perkins wants as well.

"Bill and I have talked about a lot of things,” Perkins said. “We're very supportive of the things that Bill wants to have done. We want to have them done, too. These are things that Bill and I have talked about for the past six months.

"When I first came here, I said that we have great facilities, but that we need to update them. Bill and I are 100 percent onboard together. We have very good facilities, but some of them need updating. Kids are bigger and stronger now, and they probably need more room in the locker room than they needed 10 to 15 years ago. We have to have a vision for what it's going to look like in the next five to 10 to 15 years from now. These are things that we all agree on, and we have developed a master plan, but some of those need to be expedited."
 
Perkins encouraged Self to speak to Oklahoma State since it was his alma mater.

“I think he knew when he told me that, exactly how I feel about this place (KU),” Self said.

Self’s decision to stay at Kansas proves you can’t always believe what you read. The Tulsa World reported on April 8 that “one former major-college coach, who requested anonymity, said the consensus among the coaches attending the Final Four was that ‘Self is gone.’”

Self certainly isn’t going anywhere, except to recruit for Kansas. Self said he always wanted to go recruiting after winning a national title, and now he gets that chance.

And he hopes the championships keep on coming.

“When you really stop and think about how humbling it is, we say Phog Allen won three (national championships — the 1952 NCAA title and the 1922 and ‘23 Helms Foundation Championships), which is technically one, coach (Larry) Brown won one, and now we've won one and how cool would it be win two," Self said. "That to me is great motivation and something we're going to work very hard to accomplish at a place that is as passionate about ball as anything.”

Self gave some other reasons for staying.

“We have some guys that have given their heart and soul to us for an extended period of time and I can't see walking away from those guys,” Self said.

And then there were three defining moments that happened this season — the 110-year reunion, Senior Night, and the gathering of Self’s old OSU friends and former Jayhawks at the team hotel at the Final Four.

“To have the past players from Kansas come through that same suite (in San Antonio) and the pride that they have for a team that they're not connected to directly, but are related to, and how much it meant to them (was very meaningful),” Self said. "Even my buddies that have no connection to Kansas told me, `Bill, I'm amazed that people don't understand the pride that exists at your place.’"

The 110-year anniversary and Senior Night were pretty special, too.

Self was comforted "when all those players came back and you saw how much it meant to them to be connected to this place and how much joy and honor there was for me to be heading the program. ... There won't be another Senior Night in America like that next year. The emotion that was involved with everything that was going on was priceless.

“Those things meant so much to me. I couldn't picture leaving."

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