ST. LOUIS (USBWA) Bill Self, who led the Kansas Jayhawks to a Big 12 regular season title despite not having one starter return from last year·s national championship team, is this year·s recipient of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Rawlings Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award.
With a team picked to finish third in the conference in the preseason, Self had just one player with much experience returning from a year ago guard Sherron Collins, who had a 2.2 scoring average last season.
But Self molded the Jayhawks into a contender early and they came on strong down the stretch to finish with a 25-6 regular-season record, a 14-2 mark in the Big 12 and a top 10 national ranking. The Big 12 named him coach of the year in the conference.
The regular season conference championship was Kansas' ninth in the 13-year history of the Big 12. Kansas has now won or shared each of the last five Big 12 regular-season titles, all under Self. In six seasons at Kansas, Self has an 81.3 winning percentage and has led the Jayhawks to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2004, '07 and '08. Kansas has advanced to the regional semifinals this season.
Now in his 16th year as a head coach, Self has won nine league crowns in the last 11 years and has guided teams to 11 straight 20-win seasons. Self has had previous coaching stops at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois before coming to Kansas for the 2003-04 season. He is one of only four coaches in NCAA Division I history to have led three different schools Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas · to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Winning the Henry Iba Award has special meaning for Self, who is a 1985 graduate of Oklahoma State. Iba, whom the USBWA named its coach of the year award after in 1993, is legendary for leading Oklahoma State (known then as Oklahoma A&M) to national championships in 1945 and '46 and the United States to two Olympic gold medals in 1964 and '68. The USBWA Coach of the Year Award has been presented since the 1958-59 season.
Self was chosen from among a list of finalists that included Mike Anderson, Missouri; John Calipari, Memphis; Jeff Capel, Oklahoma; Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh; Mike Montgomery, California; Stew Morrill, Utah State; Matt Painter, Purdue; Oliver Purnell, Clemson; and Brad Stevens, Butler.
Self will receive the Rawlings Henry Iba Award at the USBWA's College Basketball Awards breakfast held in conjunction with the NCAA Final Four in Detroit on Friday, April 3, at the Detroit Athletic Club starting at 8 a.m. The Henry Iba Award for Self marks the second time a Kansas coach has been named national coach of the year by the USBWA. Roy Williams was honored in 1990 by the USBWA.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today, it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball. For more information on the USBWA and its awards, contact executive director Joe Mitch at 314-421-0339.