Hall of Fame weekend concludes with ring ceremony
UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Kansas head coach Bill Self concluded a memorable weekend of Enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at a ring ceremony at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, Saturday evening.
Before a banquet-style crowd of more than 700 in the Mohegan Conference Room, the ring presentation to the Class of 2017 capped off three days of Enshrinement events that Self and the other 10 inductees participated. Joining Self in the Class of 2017 were: Zack Clayton (player, posthumous), Nick Galis (player), Robert Hughes (coach), Mannie Jackson (contributor), Tom Jernstedt (contributor), Jerry Krause (contributor, posthumous), Tracy McGrady (player), Rebecca Lobo (contributor), George McGinnis (player) and Muffet McGraw (coach).
“The whole weekend has been a great, one big long moment,” Self said. “Tonight was special and the ring is pretty cool. I’ve got a lot of nice rings, but I don’t know if I have any nicer than this. It is nice and it was nice to sit on the stage with all those greats. I’m still kind of blown away by the experience but this is something I will cherish and I’m sure my family will to.”
The Enshrinement festivities began on Thursday afternoon with a jacket presentation at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Following the jacket ceremony the inductees met with the media and later were introduced at a family reunion and awards dinner consisting of many Hall of Fame members.
On Friday, family members, players, coaches and staff associated each inductee continued to arrive for the evening Enshrinement ceremony. Self’s contingent extended from his high school days in Edmond, Oklahoma, to his playing and coaching stints at Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Kansas. In all, Self had more than 140 guests joining in his celebration.
Following a VIP reception at the hall, the inductee’s guests bused to the Springfield Symphony Hall where they walked the red carpet entering the building for Enshrinement. After the ceremony adidas hosted an after party for Self and fellow inductee McGrady.
“I’d say the highlight of the weekend was having so many past players and coaches come back,” Self said. “The induction was great last night, and, of course, tonight was great, but I think the most fun that we’ve had is hanging out with those guys until about 2 a.m. last night and telling old war stories.”
Self began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Kansas in 1985-86 under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, who presented him at the Hall of Fame Enshrinement on Friday. Self then returned to his alma mater, Oklahoma State, as an assistant coach from 1987-94 under head coaches Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton. Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Self was a guard at OSU from 1982-85. His first head coaching position was at Oral Roberts from 1994-97, then Tulsa (1996-2000), Illinois (2001-03) and Kansas (2004-present).
Self is the 20th person associated with Kansas basketball to be inducted, the last being coaching legend John McClendon, who was inducted in 2016 for the second time. As only the eighth coach in KU history, Self is the fifth KU mentor to be inducted into Hall joining James Naismith, Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, Brown and Roy Williams. Kansas has the highest percentage of coaches in the Hall of Fame, 63 percent, than any other school. KU’s five matches North Carolina’s five for the most inducted in college coaching with St. John’s third with four.
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