This past Friday, Bill Self was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The only surprise about his induction may have been the realization that despite all he’s accomplished, Self is “only” 54 years old. He’s already won a national title, been to two Final Fours, led three schools to a total of 19 NCAA tournament appearances, won multiple regular season & tournament championships in three different conferences, and amassed a gaudy 623-193 record in his 24 years as a head coach.
Provided that health and desire remain high, it seems entirely possible for Self to coach for another 20 years given the remarkable success he’s been able to achieve & maintain so far. Assuming he stays at Kansas that entire time and continues to win at a respectable rate (say an average of 20 games per year), it’s realistic that Self could win another national title or two, reach a handful more Final Fours, collect a dozen more conference regular season and/or tournament championships, and win another 400 games – putting him over the 1000 career win mark and among the top 10 of all-time (depending on how long a few other coaches keep at it). That’s the kind of resume that would put him up for consideration of The Mount Rushmore of College Basketball Coaches.
Despite everything that Self has accomplished however, he was reflective and humble in his acceptance speech – as a matter of fact, it was the first time I think I have ever seen him visibility nervous in front of a crowd:
One of the coolest things about Self’s induction speech however, was the number of fans he had in attendance. Although I haven’t seen an “official count,” various reports indicate that around 150 family members and friends joined coaches & players from every stop along Self’s journey. After Self asked them all to stand and be recognized, even host Ahmad Rashad quipped, “Very impressive, that group back there. Good thing I didn’t try to introduce all you guys. We would’ve been here for two days.”
Oftentimes, greatness isn’t recognized as being present until well after the fact – that’s what makes Coach Self’s enshrinement special, it’s a moment for us to pause and to celebrate all that he has accomplished at the University of Kansas…so far. Like I alluded to earlier, Self is still in the prime of his coaching career.
KU BALLS is well-stocked with memorabilia that represents and celebrates Coach Self’s greatness, and we look forward to having the first-class problem of trying to figure out just where to put everything else from his future accomplishments at KU.
Congratulations to Coach Bill Self, not just one of Kansas’ all-time coaching legends, but one of all of basketball’s all-time coaching legends.