It was KU football coach Charlie Weis’ first appearance at the annual KU preseason pep rally on Friday night at Corinth Square in Prairie Village. And in front of an estimated crowd of 6,000 — the largest in the event’s history — Weis saved his best line for last.
“If you’re leaving at halftime,” Weis told the crowd, “you and I are gonna get into a fist fight, OK?”
The point was simple: Weis is working to make sure the fans stick around.
“When a team gets used to losing, you know habits are habits,” Weis said, “And losing’s a habit, too. So, I think psychologically, the most important thing is let’s get out of that habit and get used to winning.”
Weis welcomed KU basketball coach Bill Self to practice on Friday.
Self, who had spent most of the month in Europe, said he came away impressed.
“He said get on the line, and I ran over there,” Self said. “I mean, I was nervous he was talking to me. I think it’s gonna be a fun football season. ”
Self interest — In the aftermath of the United States’ gold-medal performance in men’s basketball at the Olympics, KU coach Bill Self’s name has been tossed into the ring as a potential candidate to coach the U.S. team in the future.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has guided the U.S. to gold in the last two Olympics, has said the London Games would be his last at the helm.
But in Self’s view, he’s certainly not at the top of the list. When the question was asked on Friday evening at the KU rally at Corinth Square in Prairie Village, Self smiled and suggested that a few prominent NBA coaches — including Spurs coach Greg Popovich and Celtics coach Doc Rivers — were more likely candidates. But yes, he said, of course he would listen if he got the call.
“They’re not gonna call, though,” Self said. “I think there’s a guy named Popovich and a guy named Rivers, and guys like that that probably have a better relationship with Dream Team type players than what I do.”
European return — Self and the Jayhawks are still just days removed from completing their four-game tour of Europe. The Jayhawks went just 2-2 on the trip, including two straight losses in Paris, but Self still believed the trip was a beneficial experience.
“I don’t know if we came together as much over there as what I would have liked,” Self said. “But I’m not sure it’s possible.… I tried to play 18 guys. But I thought we came together great in practice (before the trip).
“I thought the two practices prior to that, we did a lot of bad things and learned from it and got better.”
McLemore update — KU redshirt freshman Ben McLemore was hampered by a hip flexor injury for most of the European trip. Self said Friday that the injury wouldn’t require surgery or have any major lasting effects.