Since arriving on the University of Illinois campus as the 15th head coach of the Fighting Illini basketball program, Bill Self has led the Illini through two of the most successful seasons in school history.
This past season, Self became the first Big Ten coach since 1912, and the second all-time, to lead his squad to conference championships in each of his first two seasons at a school. It also was the first time Illinois won back-to-back Big Ten titles in 50 years, and just the third time in school history this was accomplished.
Self and his staff are also one of just two men's staffs in the nation to win a conference title in each of the last four seasons.
During the 2001-02 season, Self led the Illini to a 26-9 record (tying the third-winningest season in school history) and to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. Self also won his second straight Big Ten Championship in 2002, leading the Illini to an 11-5 league record and a share of the four-way title.
Self became just the ninth head coach in Big Ten history to win a league title in his first season when the Illini shared the 2001 title with Michigan State. The Illini won 27 games his first year, the second-winningest season in school history. With NCAA Tournament wins over Northwestern State, Charlotte and Kansas, Self led Illinois to the program’s first Elite Eight appearance since 1989. He became the first coach since 1950 and 1951 (Tippy Dye at Ohio State and Washington) to lead two different schools to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in successive seasons. Self led the Illini to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a final ranking of No. 4 in the Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll. He finished fourth in voting for the Associated Press National Coach of the Year. During his time at Illinois, the Fighting Illini have been ranked in the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 polls for 40 consecutive weeks, every poll during his tenure. Frank Williams earned All-America honors in two seasons under Self, and was named the 2001 Big Ten Player of the Year. The Illini have earned seven spots on All-Big Ten teams under Self.
In his nine seasons as a head coach, Self has built a reputation as one of the nation’s finest young coaches. He coached at Tulsa from 1998 to 2000, where he led the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA Tournament in 1999 and 2000, including a 32-5 record and Elite Eight appearance in 2000, setting a school record for victories in a season.
Self completed his second year at Illinois (53-17) with an overall 182-98 (.650) mark following four years at Oral Roberts (55-54) and three at Tulsa (74-27). He replaced Lon Kruger, who left Illinois after being named head coach of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks in May of 2000.
During the 2000 NCAA Tournament run, the Golden Hurricane defeated UNLV, Cincinnati and Miami before narrowly losing to North Carolina in the regional final. The Hurricane completed the season ranked ninth in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll and 18th in the Associated Press poll.
Tulsa was the first team to reach the 20- and 25-win plateau for the 2000 season, and its 32 wins tied Iowa State and national-champion Michigan State for most wins. The Hurricane won a second straight regular-season Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title in 2000 after posting a 12-2 league record.
In the 2000 campaign, Self was named the Don Haskins WAC Coach of the Year, as voted by the league’s coaches, was selected as the John and Nellie Wooden Coach of the Year as presented by the Utah Tipoff Club and named The Sporting News National Coach of the Year. He also was picked as one of 15 candidates for the Naismith College Coach of the Year Award, which is selected annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
At age 39, Self has 17 years of Division I coaching experience. He has been a part of 11 teams that advanced to postseason competition, including eight trips to the NCAA Tournament and three appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
Self’s tenure at ORU, his first as a head coach at any level, was one in which he resurrected the Golden Eagles program. Before taking over the reigns, ORU had compiled the worst record in the program’s history with a 5-22 mark in 1992-93. Although Self’s first ORU team managed just six victories in 1993-94, the win total increased to 10 the following year. In his third season at the helm, Self guided the Golden Eagles to an 18-9 record. In 1996-97, ORU registered a 21-7 mark and made the school’s first postseason tournament appearance since 1983-84, receiving an invitation to the NIT.
Prior to his appointment at ORU, Self spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State University. He originally joined the Cowboys staff for the 1986-87 season and spent the next four years working under then-OSU head coach Leonard Hamilton (former head coach of the NBA’s Washington Wizards). In the three seasons prior to arriving at ORU, Self served as an assistant on Eddie Sutton’s staff at Oklahoma State.
During Self’s seven seasons with the Cowboys, the team advanced to postseason play a total of five times, including three trips to the NCAA Tournament (1991-93) and two straight appearances in the National Invitation Tournament (1989-90). OSU posted a cumulative 128-88 record during his tenure, including a mark of 72-25 (.742) in his final three seasons.
At Oklahoma State, Self had the opportunity to help recruit and develop some of the Cowboys’ top players, including current NBA players: Bryant Reeves, the 6th overall pick in the 1995 NBA draft, John Starks, Byron Houston and Brooks Thompson.
Before Oklahoma State, Self spent the 1985-86 season on Larry Brown’s coaching staff at the University of Kansas. While Self was at Kansas, the Jayhawks registered a 35-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Final Four. In addition to his duties on the varsity coaching staff, Self also helped coach the Kansas junior varsity team to a 12-7 overall record.
A native of Edmond, Okla., Self competed collegiately at Oklahoma State where he was a four-year letterwinner from 1982 to 1985 and was an All-Big Eight freshman team selection in 1982. He received his bachelor’s degree in business in 1985 and a master’s degree in athletic administration in 1989, both from Oklahoma State. Self is the second Fighting Illini basketball coach with Oklahoma roots. Former coach Lou Henson was a native of Okay, Okla., and coached at Illinois from 1976-96.
Self was named Illinois’ 15th head coach on June 9, 2000.
Children: Lauren (10) and son Tyler (8).
High School: Played basketball at Edmond High School (Okla.) and was selected as the Oklahoma Big School Player of the Year in 1981 after averaging 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game. He was team captain as a senior and was honored as a Converse All-American. He played in the Faith Seven and Oklahoma All-State games.
College: Was a four-year letterwinner at Oklahoma State University (1981-85). He led OSU in assists two straight years and was named to the All-Big Eight freshman team. He led OSU in assists in 1983-84 with 126 and in 1984-85 with 108. He also led the Cowboys in free throw percentage in 1983-84, shooting .754 percent.
|University of Kansas, Head Coach Larry Brown|
|Overall Record||Postseason Play|
Leonard Hamilton (1987-90); Eddie Sutton (1991-93)
|1990-91||24-8 (.750)||NCAA, Big 8 Champs, Sweet 16|
|1991-92||28-8 (.777)||NCAA, Sweet 16|
|Oral Roberts University|
|4 Years||55-54 (.505)|
|University of Tulsa|
|1998-99||23-10 (.697)||NCAA (1-1)|
|1999-2000||32-5 (.865)||NCAA (3-1) Elite 8|
|3 Years||74-27 (.733)|
|University of Illinois|
|2000-01||27-8 (.771)||Big Ten Champs, NCAA (3-1) Elite 8|
|2001-02||26-9 (.743)||Big Ten Champs, NCAA (2-1) Sweet 16|
|2 Years||53-17 (.757)|
9-Year Coaching Record: 182-98 (.650)
Big Ten Coaching Record: 24-8 (.750)
Record at the Assembly Hall: 25-1 (.962)
NCAA Tournament Record: 9-4 (.692)
The Self File
1985-86 - University of Kansas
1987-93 - Oklahoma State University
1994-97 - Oral Roberts University
1998-2000 - University of Tulsa
2000-02 - University of Illinois