Self Honored With Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award

April 29, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Kansas men’s basketball head coach Bill Self was honored Tuesday night by Oklahoma City University with the Abe Lemons/Paul Hansen Award for Sports Excellence, which is presented annually to someone who has helped grow sports in the state. The award carries the name of two of the university’s former basketball coaches.

“It’s an award that obviously I’m not deserving of having, but anything that has coach Lemons’ and Coach Hansen’s name on it, I think is a pretty cool deal,” Self said. “I had a chance to know both men and played for Coach Hansen all four years at Oklahoma State, so this is really a treat for me.”

Self’s father, Bill Sr., used his introduction to roast his son, kidding that it only took six straight wins in the NCAA tournament for Kansas to win the national title and that multiple other family members had won at least six games in a row, too.

“I really don’t know why I was selected to receive this,” Self said. “According to him, with that type of players you should win at least six games. But certainly it’s an honor.”

Self said the most special part of the award was the link to Hansen, his former coach who went 107-89 at Oklahoma State from 1979-86. Self joined the Oklahoma State coaching staff the following season and spent seven years as a Cowboys assistant before getting his first head coaching job at Oral Roberts. He went on to coach at Tulsa and Illinois before landing at Kansas. Self remembered Hansen having class and dignity, and he said his former mentor taught him that “you can be a good guy and still be very competitive.”

“I know that right after I got into coaching, soon after I graduated, one of the first things I did was call coach Hansen and actually apologize to him because I realized then why he did the things that he did,” Self said. “I didn’t understand it going through it — and players don’t — but certainly he got a lot smarter fast after I tried to do the same things that he was doing.”