University of Kansas basketball coach Bill Self’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame was well deserved.
Self, the architect of 13 consecutive Big 12 Conference championships, was inducted Friday into the Hall in Springfield, Mass., where Naismith invented the game before coming to Lawrence and starting the KU basketball program in 1898. Self joined Naismith and Kansas coaches Phog Allen, Larry Brown and Roy Williams in the Hall of Fame. He joined Kansas players Paul Endacott, Wilt Chamberlin, Bill Johnson, Clyde Lovellette and JoJo White in the Hall.
It is a worthy honor for Self, a coach who has found a way to take one of America’s most storied basketball programs to even greater heights.
In 24 seasons as a collegiate coach at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas, Self has compiled a record of 623-193, winning 76.3 percent of the games he has coached. He has been even better in 14 seasons at Kansas, winning 82.7 percent of the time in compiling a 416-87 record. In Allen Fieldhouse, Self has a remarkable record of 202-10.
He has coached in the NCAA Tournament for 19 consecutive years, winning a national championship in 2008, coming in second in 2012, and qualifying for the Elite 8 round of the tournament nine times.
And then there is the streak of 13 straight conference championships. It is a run of success matched in history only once before by John Wooden’s legendary UCLA teams, which won a conference title every year from 1967 to 1979.
“No matter how you look at it, (with) the majority of the history of this game, going all the way back, there are roots through Springfield and Lawrence, Kansas,” Self said Thursday after arriving in Springfield. “The reality of being inducted into the Hall started hitting today more so than it has. It’s pretty cool.”
Self went into the Hall of Fame with nine other significant contributors to the game of basketball including NBA All-Stars Tracy McGrady and George McGinnis, WNBA superstar Rebecca Lobo and Notre Dame women’s coach Muffet McGraw. But none of the aforementioned stars shined as brightly as Self, who has achieved legendary status at college basketball’s most legendary school.