Reality setting in for Bill Self
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Kansas head coach Bill Self is one of the top leaders in all of college basketball and to prove it, the 14-year KU mentor is being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts this weekend. But the reality of the monumental accomplishment did not hit home for Self until he arrived in Springfield.
Ironically, Self was driving on Naismith Drive when he got the call that he was part of the 2017 inductee class in early April. Story has it, he pulled to the side of the road, adjacent to historic Allen Fieldhouse, and reflected on how grateful he was for such an honor. But it wasn’t until Self and his wife Cindy arrived in Springfield Wednesday that reality of being part of an elite group set in.
“When we all found out in April we were all pretty overwhelmed with this but this didn’t actually hit me until we got to Springfield and being in this arena and seeing all the portraits, it’s very humbling,” Self said while being introduced during the jacket ceremony Thursday afternoon at the Hall of Fame. “I’m very excited to be here this weekend and I’m so excited to be able to see people who have played a significant role in me having the opportunity to do what I do there (at Kansas).”
The Hall of Fame jacket was one of three items Self will take back to Lawrence following the conclusion of the weekend. He and the other inductees will also receive a ring and a trophy-looking spire.
Joining Self in the Thursday afternoon autograph session, jacket ceremony and press conference were the other 10 Class of 2017 inductees: 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 group was later introduced at the VIP Reunion Dinner which consisted of many returning hall of famers. Also at the dinner the Hall presented the Curt Gowdy Print Media Award, the Curt Gowdy Electronic Media Award, the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award and the Manni Jackson – Basketball Humanitarian Spirit Award of which Self was the 2014 recipient. The Class of 2017 will be officially Enshrined Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. (Central) and the ceremony will be carried live on NBATV.
Self began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Kansas in 1985-86 under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, who will be presenting him at the Hall of Fame Enshrinement on Sept. 8. 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 becomes 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.
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