Self, Perkins hold preliminary talk
Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self and athletic director Lew Perkins met for 15 minutes Wednesday to discuss the fifth-year coach’s future at KU.
The short meeting – a longer one is on tap, likely for today -had both Self and Perkins smiling afterward, meaning progress had been made toward keeping the man Oklahoma State wants to lead its hoops program safe and secure for years to come in Lawrence.
“We just talked in general,” Self said in a sit-down interview with the Journal-World in Self’s office. “We did not talk a lot, but it was very productive. Lew is 100 percent supportive. Lew knows the thing I’m most concerned about is to continue to have the resources that will allow us to compete at this level, things like facilities, housing (for players), things already in the works. We’ll visit in detail tomorrow.”
Self stressed, “I love KU, I love this place, my family loves this place.” He gave every indication he will remain KU’s coach, perhaps with an announcement as early as today, once specifics are discussed.
“I anticipate this moving forward in a very positive way. This won’t drag on,” Self said. “All I’m interested in is giving the program the best chance to continue to compete at the highest of levels. Lew wants that, too.”
Self likely will receive a hefty bump in salary with the security of the additional years he desires. He said he also will visit with Oklahoma State officials, who want him to replace Sean Sutton as coach.
That talk likely will come in the form of a phone call, though it’s always possible athletic director Mike Holder and booster T. Boone Pickens might find a way to try to woo KU’s coach face to face.
“It’s not to compare offers or anything,” Self said. “Out of respect to my alma mater, I’ll at least visit with them. I don’t anticipate anything as far as serious interest in leaving this place.
“It (OSU) is my alma mater. There’s no way I’m going to say I’m not going to accept that phone call. There’s no way. I know everybody there,” Self added. “Even if it’s just to offer assistance or to listen or whatever. I can tell you what I have played out in my mind is going to happen, and I hope that’s the case, that everything at KU is going to be great. Lew is 100 percent supportive of how to handle the situation. He knows out of respect to your school you should at least visit with them even if not for anything more than just talk.”
Talking to OSU is one thing; seriously considering leaving KU is another. And Self made it clear Wednesday he’s not looking to move.
“Lew knows after the meeting that the main thing I’m concerned with is, we need to have resources that allow us to compete and recruit at this level consistently with all the other programs that have put resources in their programs. It’s what Lew wants as well,” Self added of Perkins, who had no comment on Self’s contract talks or OSU’s pursuit of his coach Wednesday.
Already in the works is a new practice facility that will be next to Horejsi Center connected to Parrott Athletic Center. It will add 1 1/2 additional practice courts for the men’s and women’s teams to use. Also on the wish list are improvements to KU’s athletic dorm, Jayhawker Towers.
Self stresses in the rocky coaching profession he’d like personal security. He has three years remaining on his contract at $1.375 million a year. Look for more money and more years.
Some crazy rumors were out there Wednesday. One particularly rampant rumor suggested Self would rake in $25 million to remain at KU for eight years. Florida’s Billy Donovan is the country’s highest-paid coach at $3.5 million a year. Texas’ Rick Barnes is highest paid in the Big 12 at $2 million per annum.
KU benefactor Dana Anderson said he’d not heard any specifics about a possible new Self contract.
“I know in his heart of hearts he wants to stay,” Anderson said. “There are ways of structuring things (so) he can get the long-term protection he wants. He wants some security and is entitled to it. He is a perfect fit for Kansas. If we have to find some more money, a lot of people will step up and help.”
Another booster noted: “What he really wants to know is he’ll be here eight, 10, 12 years and if not (if he for some reason got fired) gets a heck of a payday. I see no reason for us not to do that.”
Self was almost giddy in discussing his situation at KU with the Journal-World on Wednesday.
“Yes,” he said quickly, asked if he and his family love KU. “I am overwhelmed right now by everything. The support in San Antonio from our fans was totally overwhelming. The turnout at Memorial Stadium (25,000 fans for Tuesday rally) was overwhelming, even in bad weather.
“The interest level to do a parade : I’m just overwhelmed by everything going on and also overwhelmed in a large part because of seeing a group of guys perform at such a high level under stressful conditions when it counts most : as a coach that makes you more proud than anything.”
He had more to say about his happiness quotient.
“It’s been a great five years. Of course this past year was the best. Certainly people have been very good to us. I didn’t enjoy losing in the first round two years ago, and I know the fans didn’t enjoy it much. The support here has been excellent. We have a loyal fan following. It’s so pleasing to see it all come together, to see how much people care and how much it means to so many people.”
Of course, the folks at Self’s alma mater want him there. There have been rumors of a $6 million signing bonus and $4 million a year for 10 years.
“I personally don’t think any school would feel that strongly about a situation,” Self said, asked if OSU would make him offer after offer he in theory could not refuse. “I owe it to them and myself to have a conversation. I do not anticipate leaving this place.
“All I want,” he concluded, “is us continuing to do the things necessary to compete and recruit at this level, do what other schools are doing to have success here for a long time.”