As he leads his Kansas Jayhawks onto the floor tonight to take on the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA men’s college basketball championship game, head-coach Bill Self will do so as college basketball’s most recently named Naismith Men’s College Basketball Coach of the Year, edging out Wildcats’ head-coach, John Calipari for the honor.
The award is named in honor of fellow Jayhawk, Kansas’ first coach and the inventor of basketball, James Naismith.
Self is the third Kansas coach to receive the honor, making them the only college basketball program to ever crown three Naismith Coaches of the Year. He joins former Kansas coaches Larry Brown (’88) and Roy Williams (’97)-whose University of North Carolina Tarheels were just eliminated from the tournament by Self- as Jayhawks who have won the award.
Though named a finalist five times before, it is Self’s first time to receive the Naismith Coach of the Year honor. He was also named this year’s The Sporting News National Coach of the Year, and was the recepient of the Adolph Rupp Cup, given to the coach “who best exemplifies excellence in his dedication to the game of basketball and to his student athletes.”
Under Bill Self, the Jayhawks have posted a 31-7 overall record this season, including a 16-0 record in Lawrence, and captured their eighth straight Big 12 regular season crown. They are headed to their second national title game in the last four seasons. In 2008, Self led the Jawhawks to his first and Kansas’ fifth national title, defeating the Memphis Tigers by a score of 75-68.
In his nine years at Kansas, Self’s teams have posted a 269-52 record for a 84% winning percentage.
With Self and Calipari standing court-side, tonight’s game features two of the top coaches in the game facing off against one another.