Kansas announces lifetime contract for Self

Kansas Jayhawks coach Bill Self has signed a lifetime contract with the men’s basketball team, the school announced Friday.

Self’s current contract, which had less than one year remaining, has been replaced with a new five-year rolling agreement that automatically adds one year at the conclusion of each season for the remainder of his career.

“I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Chancellor [Doug] Girod, Kurt Watson, and the rest of the leadership at KU for their belief and faith in me to provide this lifetime contract,” Self said in a statement. “Every day, I am reminded just how fortunate I am to lead this storied program and there truly is no place else I would rather be. As we continue to work through the challenges facing our program, we look forward to moving ahead and focusing on our bright future. I would also like to express my gratitude to our alumni and donors, as well as the best fans and students in the nation, that have supported my family and me for the past 18 seasons. I’m excited to remain your basketball coach and compete for many championships in the future.”

Self has been in Lawrence since 2003, going to three Final Fours and winning a national championship in 2008. Kansas won 14 consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles under Self from 2005 to 2018, then won another one in 2020. The Jayhawks would have been the favorite to win the national title last season before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the NCAA tournament.

“For almost 20 years, Coach Self has embodied the spirit and tradition of the University of Kansas, leading our men’s basketball program to a national championship, 15 Big 12 titles and 17 NCAA Tournament appearances,” Girod said in the release. “We believe in Coach Self and we believe in the future of our program under his leadership, and we are thrilled that he will continue to be a Jayhawk for the rest of his coaching career.”

Kansas was knocked out in the second round of this year’s NCAA tournament by USC after earning a 3-seed. The Jayhawks finished 21-9 overall, 12-6 in the Big 12.

“Bill Self has meant a tremendous amount to the University of Kansas and our entire Lawrence community throughout his 18 seasons,” interim athletic director Watson said in the statement. “He has changed the lives of so many young men that have played for him throughout his nearly 30 years as a head coach. I have known Bill for many years, but working closely with him over the past few weeks in my current role has shown me even more so on a daily basis how deeply he cares about this program. We are certainly proud that he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at KU in 1985 and that this new contract will ensure he finishes his coaching career here as well.”

Self had been linked with a potential move to the NBA for the past few years, especially after the FBI investigation into college basketball that included alleged payments from Adidas to a pair of former Kansas players. The NCAA ultimately charged Kansas with five Level I violations, including charging the school with a lack of institutional control and Self with head coach responsibility violations. There have been no punishments handed down yet.

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