The expression on Bill Self's face looked like his 400th win as a head coach Saturday was more of a pain in the assets than a cause for reflection.
Nevertheless, Self talked about longevity and mega-win totals, like
800. He said he had a really hard time wrapping his head around the
thought of that many wins. That's understandable, considering only
eight men, including his mentor Eddie Sutton, have done it.
"I think it's different now; I don't think there'll be a lot of guy's
who'll win 800 from this point forward," Self said. "I think the
business has changed enough where guys aren't going to coach for as
many years as what they had (in the past)."
Coaching longevity is also affected by the financial boon seen by
college sports in recent years.
"Coaches are makin' more money now. You don't have to work as long to
retire. Some of these guys that came before us – y'know, how much was
coach (John) Wooden makin' his last year at UCLA?"
The longevity of the men who've topped 800 victories is amazing. Bob
Knight won 902, but it took him 39 years to do it. Same with Eddie
Sutton (804 wins). Dukie Mike Krzyzewski (874 wins as of Saturday) will
likely break Knight's record in 2011-2012, his 37th year. It took Jim
Phelan 49 years to win 830 at Mount St. Mary. That is not a typo.
Just so you know, if Self continued to win at his current freakish 82.4
percent rate, it would still take him 486 games – about 13 ½ seasons at
36 games a year – to win another 400 at Kansas. He would be in his 31st
season as a head coach.
Self noted that he's had good luck at KU, thanks to the Jimmys and Joes.
"It is nice to have coached as many good players as we have," he said.
"If you coach long enough, you should win games, and they should add up
if you coach long enough. We've kind of won at an accelerated rate
lately, in large part because we have had such good players."
He's a sucker for tradition and history, though, so it was no surprise
that he paid homage to the coaches who came before him and his
"It is amazing to me how so many have withstood the test of time and
been so good for so long. As a young coach, we should always really
respect the ones who came before us and gave us a chance to do what we
do. There's some guys out there – the coach Sutton's of the world –
that have certainly made our profession a lot better," the coach said.
Self-Examination After W #400
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