The last time Bill Self went through a contract renegotiation, another school was involved.
Coming off the 2008 national championship, Kansas had to fend off interest from Self’s alma mater, Oklahoma State. But Self signed an extension by the end of that summer.
On this occasion, there was no other suitor, at least publicly. Kansas simply thought the time was right — a few months after KU had played in the NCAA championship game — to carve out a long-term deal that could become one of the most lucrative in college sports.
The contract extends Self’s agreement with Kansas through the 2021-22 season and, if he makes it that far, he’s guaranteed $52.21 million in total compensation over the 10-year period.
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“There were no other jobs involved,” Self said. “It’s basically a situation where they came to me and wanted to do something. I was thrilled, and to be quite honest, surprised.
“I would have been the coach here regardless. The fact they wanted to do this basically ensures there won’t be other nibblers in the future.”
KU simply wanted to lock up one of the nation’s most successful coaches, athletic director Sheahon Zenger said.
“I believe in rewarding great coaches,” he said, “before others try and take them away.”
Self was college basketball’s fifth highest-paid coach last season, according to a USA Today survey of coaching salaries. His new annual salary of $3,856,000 will move him to fourth behind Kentucky’s John Calipari, Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and ahead of Florida’s Billy Donovan.
Calipari makes $5.39 million annually. Self’s compensation would average $5.2 million per year if he coaches through 2022.
Self’s new deal wasn’t done with any particular coach in mind, Zenger said. But he thought Self should be compensated at the top level.
“We believe Bill Self is among a very small number of elite basketball coaches in the country, and this ensures that we compensate him accordingly,” Zenger said.
Self said that Lawrence is where he and his wife, Cindy, want to be.
“We’re happy just to be at Kansas, part of the University of Kansas,” Self said. “We’re not looking to go anywhere. As long as they want us here.…”
The basketball team has become a family affair this season with the addition of Self’s son, Tyler, to the roster.
The new contract raises Self’s base and professional services salary to $2,980,000 per year, an increase of $480,000 from his previous contract. The retention payments from his old contract also carry over, meaning he can earn an additional $22.41 million in bonuses by coaching through the 2022 season. According to KU, no taxpayer or tuition funds will be used.
In addition to his regular salary, Self is scheduled to receive a $3.27 million lump-sum retention bonus at the end of the season as part of his old contract.
As part of the new contract, Self is scheduled to receive lump-sum retention payments of $2.628 million after the 2015 and 2018 seasons.
If he stays through 2022 — Self would be 59 and only Phog Allen would have coached the program for a longer period — an additional one-time payment of $6 million will be awarded.
The new deal also is laden with performance incentives. Self would receive an additional $200,000 for an NCAA championship, $150,000 for a Final Four appearance (a $50,000 increase from his old contract), $100,000 for being chosen Associated Press coach of the year (also a $50,000 bump), $50,000 for a regular-season conference championship and $25,000 for a conference tournament championship.
Self will have the use of 100 tickets at home men’s basketball games, up from 40 in his previous deal.
If he leaves KU before his contract expires, Self owes KU no penalty. But if he’s terminated before the end of his contract, Self would receive what the contract calls a “signing bonus.” It’s essentially a buyout, worth $4.732 million if it happens before the end of the 2018 season and $5.356 million if it occurs between 2018 and 2022.
Self was already the highest-paid coach in Kansas history. The new deal coincides with additional revenue that’s pouring into the athletic department from new television contracts with the Big 12.
The windfall actually started last year with a record amount of $19 million paid to each school from the conference. With new TV deals in place with ESPN and Fox, the amount is expected to jump to at least $20 million this year.
Self is set to begin his 10th season at KU, where his teams have gone 269-52. He’s 476-157 over his career, which also includes stops at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois.
Last season, the Jayhawks reached the Final Four for the second time under Self, advancing to the NCAA title game before falling to Calipari’s Wildcats.
The highlight of Self’s career has been the 2008 national championship. His Kansas teams have won eight straight Big 12 championships.