Self May Come Full Circle

Thursday, April 10th 2008, 4:12 am
By: News On 6

It was March 8th, 1993 when he became head coach.  Bill Self was baby-faced with big glasses bulging from his face at 30-years-old.

"I'm a dreamer as are other people in this room as we all know," said Self in his introductory press conference at Oral Roberts. "I feel like if we put both feet in the circle and work together and the commitments there on everyone's part this place has a chance to be very special."

It was going to be a tall task to turn around a team that won just five games the year before.

Sporting a new nickname and new coach, Oral Roberts transitioned from the Titans to Golden Eagles, hatching in 1993, it took baby steps to get better. Self only won six games his first season.

"The losing becomes a habit as does winning, we have to take the approach that nobody's going to beat us," said Self during his first season as head coach. "If we start at the ground level and doesn't take short cuts by the fourth year hopefully we'll have something special."

As Self surmised the Golden Eagles soared, winning 31 of his final 38 games as head coach, before saying so long to South Tulsa, heading cross-town to TU.

"When opportunities present themselves like this you have to look at them hard," said Self upon arriving at the University of Tulsa. "Some of the best ones you don't expect to happen. That's kind of what's happened here."

Self was beginning to look like a seasoned coach. Three years at TU, two NCAA Tournament appearances, a trip to the Elite Eight in 2000 and 32 wins, the most in school history.

At his peak again, it was time to pack his bags for the University of Illinois.

"I am jacked about the opportunities that exist here," said Self. "It's great to be at an institution that so well known and respected and hale from a league that's the premier conference in America."

Although he left the state of Oklahoma, Self still made his home in the Midwest. He forged the Fighting Illini to back-to-back Big 10 titles before careening the coaching carousel to Kansas.

Now a National Champion, there's questions if his coaching quest will take him back to his alma mater. Oklahoma State seems prepared to offer the big bucks, but Self isn't biting, yet.

"Nobody's contacted me but if they did I'd suggest they go in a different direction," said Self on April 1st.

Self said he's not for sale but a lot can change when the Pokes are prepared to pay up.

By Kyle Dierking, Video Journalist. Find more of his stories in our Web Exclusives section.