Career Record (Entering the 2008-09 Season):
Self was a standout ballplayer in high school, earning a scholarship to Oklahoma State. He started his coaching career immediately after graduation in 1985, taking the spot on Larry Brown's Kansas staff vacated by John Calipari. After the 1985-86 season he returned to Oklahoma State, where he'd serve as an assistant to Leonard Hamilton and then Eddie Sutton through the end of the 1992-93 season.
Self's last year as an OSU assistant was the worst in Oral Roberts University's basketball history -- the Golden Eagles managed just five wins against 22 losses. Self took over the program, and by his fourth year, had them playing in the post season for the first time in more than a decade.
Self jumped from ORU to Tulsa in 1998. In his three seasons there, the Golden Hurricanes reached the NCAA Tournament twice, the Elite Eight once (in 2000), and set a school record for victories (32, also in 2000). That's when the big conferences started calling.
When Illinois coach Lon Krueger left the Illini for a job with the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, Self was named the replacement. Taking over a talented team that featured future NBA players Corey Bradford and Brian Cook, he led the Illini to the Sweet Sixteen in his first season. He followed that up with a 26-win season in 2001-02 and 25 wins in 2002-03, while recruiting players like Deron Williams, Luther Head and Dee Brown who would go on to reach the championship game under coach Bruce Weber in 2005.
By that time, Self was back in Kansas, having taken over for Roy Williams, and making his own run to the Elite Eight. But the next two seasons ended in bitter disappointment, as the Jayhawks were knocked out in the first round by Bucknell in 2005 and Bradley in 2006. The Jayhawks fared better in 2007, reaching the Elite Eight once again, but critics were starting to sound off about Self's performance in big games.
They've quited down some since Kansas' stirring comeback win over Memphis.
In the aftermath of the Jayhawks' victory, rumors swirled that Self would be lured back to Oklahoma State by OSU booster T. Boone Pickens and his deep pockets. That possibility is almost certainly one of the factors behind the ten-year extension.