The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999. The first recipient was Dean Smith of North Carolina. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rates of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. Self will be recognized, along with the men’s and women’s 2013 John R. Wooden Award winners and the Wooden Award All American teams, at the Los Angeles Athletic Club the weekend of April 11-13, 2013.
Greg Wooden, Coach Wooden’s grandson, stated: “Coach Wooden would have been honored to present this award to Coach Self in recognition not only of his coaching excellence, but also his character and commitments off the court.”
“This is a great honor and humbling, but non-deserving; plus it’s a legends which makes me sound even older than what I am,” Self said. “I had a chance to meet Coach Wooden and get to know him fairly well back in the year 2000 because of an award we received. Cindy and I were able to spend a weekend with him and his family. That was a cool experience. To be thought of in this regard with some of the coaches that have won this in the past is pretty humbling.”
One of the nation’s most successful coaches, Self has won eight-straight Big 12 regular season titles and five league tournament championships in his nine seasons with the Jayhawks. His KU record stands at 269-53 and his 83.5 winning percentage at Kansas is the highest in the legendary program. Overall, Self is in his 19th season as a head coach with a 476-158 (.751 percent) record. Self’s NCAA Tournament success includes a run to the national title game a year ago and an NCAA title in 2008. His Kansas teams have reached at least the Sweet 16 six times in his nine years at KU.
Prior to taking the helm at Kansas, Self served as the head coach at Illinois and Tulsa, where he led both schools to the Elite Eight. Self began his career as an assistant coach for Larry Brown at Kansas and he also served under Leonard Hamilton and Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State. His first head coaching job was at Oral Roberts, where he took a team that won six games his first year and transformed it into a 20-win team by his third season; Self then rejuvenated the Tulsa program in the same fashion, taking the Hurricane to back-to-back NCAA appearances in 1999 and 2000.
Away from the court, Self devotes substantial time to his “Assists Foundation,” which directs funds to help children in a variety of ways, including scholarships and grants to school-based, private and public agencies. In the classroom, Kansas has achieved an Academic Progress Rate (APR) score of a perfect 1,000 in each of the last six years under Self. In the Self era, Kansas has had 25 Academic All-Big 12 selections, which is best in the conference, and 26 of 27 four-year players at KU have earned their degrees.
Several of Self’s assistant coaches have gone on to head coaching jobs, including Danny Manning (Tulsa) and Barry Hinson (Southern Illinois) in 2012. Other former Self assistants and staff members who have reached the Division I head coaching ranks include Scott Sutton (Oral Roberts), Tim Jankovich, Norm Roberts, Billy Gillispie and John Phillips.
Self is the third Big 12 Conference coach to receive the Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor, and the second Kansas coach chosen. Roy Williams, now at North Carolina, was the Legends of Coaching winner while at Kansas in 2003. Texas’ Rick Barnes was the winner in 2009. Since he replaced Roy Williams at KU nine years ago, Self has won 269 games. No coach in America has won more in this time span and KU’s 197 wins since the 2006-07 season are the most victories ever in a six-year span in NCAA Division I history
Legends of Coaching Honorees
2013 Bill Self, Kansas
2012 Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
2011 Tom Izzo, Michigan State
2010 Billy Donovan, Florida; Rick Barnes, Texas
2008 Pat Summitt, Tennessee; Gene Keady, Purdue; Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
2005 Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
2004 Mike Montgomery, Stanford
2003 Roy Williams, Kansas
2002 Denny Crum, Louisville
2001 Lute Olson, Arizona; Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
1999 Dean Smith, North Carolina
About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97) and last year’s recipients, Brittney Griner of Baylor and Anthony Davis of Kentucky.
Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and the All American players in attendance. It is hosted at The Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award weekend.
The Legends of Coaching Award will be presented at the 37th Annual Wooden Award Gala Celebration, which will take place the second week of April 11-13, 2012. For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to www.facebook.com/woodenaward and www.woodenaward.com.