Winner of 773 games over 31 seasons, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self would need to average 30 victories over the next 14 campaigns to surpass Duke legend Mike Krzyzewski as college basketball’s all-time leader in overall wins.
That would mean the 60-year-old Self would need to coach until he’s in his mid 70s to vie for that prestigious honor.
“I don’t know if that record will be safe forever because by the time somebody could break that record the NCAA may allow you to play 50 games a season as opposed to 40, so who knows?” Self said Wednesday, a day after it was announced he’d signed an amended “lifetime contract” at KU.
“But it won’t be me,” Self quickly added. “That is one that I would hope we could win enough that somebody could speculate, but I’m giving you my word right now: That will not be me, nor will it get close to being me.”
Self was asked about future length of his coaching career at Wednesday’s news conference set up not only to discuss Self’s contract but Friday’s 7 p.m. home game against Manhattan.
“I think I’m just getting started,” Self joked, adding, “I’m not only on the back nine, I’m on the back three or four.
“That’s OK. I’ve been a head coach now for — is this 31 years? Of the 31 years, 23 of them have been in the fast lane. I don’t even count Tulsa in the fast lane or Oral Roberts (schools where he started). Illinois and Kansas ... that’s the fast lane. You are competing against the big boys daily. So could I do it another 23 years? No, nor would I want to. Could I do it several more? Absolutely, but I don’t have a time frame on when the end is. I’d say it is closer to 2/3 than 1/3 (completed).”
Self did make it clear he’d like to coach at KU many more years.
“I’m excited I will finish my career here,” he said, addressing the lifetime contract that will be looked at by AD Travis Goff every five years in terms of possible increased compensation.
Not counting money previously owed, Self’s amended rollover deal is worth $44.5 million over the next five years or $8.9 million annually. Adding money owed, it’s a $54.1 million deal for five years or $10.8 million annually.
That makes him the top-paid college coach of publicly available salaries.
“We’ve been in discussion with this since the end of last season,” Self said. “I felt good about it. It would have been fine if it was done in September, July, June, whenever. I have learned over time when numerous attorneys are involved sometimes things don’t move as quickly as they could in some ways. I was happy that It’s done because we’ve been talking about it quite a while.”
Self and Goff said the timing of the announcement of the amended lifetime deal had nothing to do with waiting for results of the IARP ruling on KU basketball. KU received minor penalties in a recent decision involving a multi-year infractions case.
“I think the university has not wavered at all about how they felt about us during the entire NCAA investigative process,” Self said.
Indeed, Goff said Wednesday: “We didn’t have that as a critical dynamic of when and how. That wasn’t a driver of the announcement. It took every day down the stretch with all the dotting of the I’s and crossing of T’s.”
Goff said when he took over as AD 2 1/2 years ago he told Self he liked the lifetime rollover deal he’d signed in a deal worked out with chancellor Douglas Girod, but would be receptive to perhaps address additional compensation down the line.
“We are talking about the most consistent, most successful coach in modern basketball,” Goff said. “I didn’t feel like and the chancellor didn’t feel like his contract was necessarily reflective of that. That to me is what this contract reflects. It reflects having the best coach in college basketball at the helm and not necessarily ensuring but maybe viewed as cementing him to finish his career right here at Kansas.”
Goff pointed out Self’s successful basketball program “extends far beyond the hardwood. Think of enrollment, years and years of impact in driving students to KU, expanding the brand of what the Jayhawk means globally, alumni engagement — all the impacts that has for KU and working with alumni to be engaged, supportive, involved, the academic profile. You have to take those things into account when talking about a contract, about compensation, about the total package for somebody who has done something I think is unprecedented in college basketball.”
Self stressed that if KU so desired, “they can still get rid of me. That’s why contracts are written, well if this happens or that happens and this happens, these are the consequences … I get that. That’s the way it should be in every walk of life.”
Self entered the season ranked No. 20 in all-time victories. Former KU coach Roy Williams is fifth in all-time wins at 903. KU grad Dean Smith is seventh at 879 victories and KU grad Adolph Rupp eighth at 876. Former Oklahoma State coach/native Kansan Eddie Sutton is 12th at 806. And currently Kentucky coach John Calipari, who worked for Larry Brown and Ted Owens at KU, is 14th at 791.