It may seem odd that Bill Self, still just 50 years old and in the prime of his coaching career, would already be heading into any halls of fame.
But that will be the case Monday, when Self is inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Self is part of a seven-member class that also includes Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, former Oklahoma football standout Jimmy Harris and former Olympic gold-medal gymnast Nadia Comaneci, who currently resides in the Sooner State.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been inducted into anything like that,” Self said. “It’s a great honor.”
Self, of course, probably wouldn’t be going into the Hall of Fame without his illustrious 10 seasons at Kansas, where he’s led the Jayhawks to nine straight Big 12 titles, two Final Fours and an NCAA title in 2008. But before he arrived in Lawrence in 2003, Self’s roots ran deepest in his home state of Oklahoma, where he was the state high school basketball player of the year in 1981 at Edmond Memorial High School. Self went on to a four-year playing career at Oklahoma State before getting his coaching start as a graduate assistant at KU in 1985.
After spending seven years as an assistant at Oklahoma State, Self began his head-coaching career at Oral Roberts in Tulsa in 1993. He went across town to Tulsa in 1997, leading the Golden Hurricane to an Elite Eight appearance before spending three seasons at Illinois.
After finishing 31-6 last season, Self’s career record is 507-164, including a 300-59 mark at Kansas.
“I’m really proud of my state,” Self said. “And (I) respect all the people in different sports and different areas that have contributed to the rich sports history of Oklahoma.”
Sophomore Perry Ellis and freshmen Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid all worked and competed as college counselors at the four-day event, which also included some of the best high school players in the country.
Embiid, an athletic 7-foot center from Gainesville, Fla., has drawn plenty of praise for his play from media and coaches in attendance.