So the coach left. Now What?

  • Banned

    In a perfect world a HC will love the university that he works for as much as the fans and students. If you cut him with some medieval weapon his blood will bleed the colors of the school he represents. He is the voice, and the face of the program. The words that come from his lips will be like a gospel preacher. Moving and overpowering those that love and adore him. As kids come an go he will still be the vocal point. An anchor he will be through good and bad times. Wait tell next year they will say. He almost had it, just one more piece they will say. Ahh HC will never leave they will say. After all he is the coach.

    But what if he leaves? Then What? Cries will ring out why? Speculations will begin to speculate. Indignation and the harden of the heart will begin to form. Coach was never our true coach, Our coach would never leave us. Theories will be formed. Search teams will be formed. A list of potential candidates will be formed. Alas after much searching of the heart and scouring the land for the new HC. A man his hired and the process starts again.

    As a man entering the second half of his life I must say I’m quite amused at the power of the HC. In 1988 when I really became a KU fan. I was in the seventh grade and if my math is correct 14 years old. Man that seems so long ago. 🙂 Oh I knew of the Jayhawks before that miracle run in 1987/88 but I had yet to even begin to scratch the service of what they would come to mean to me. At the Middle school I was attending there was a strong push from friends and foes to be Sooners fans. Maybe it had something to do with Billy Tubbs another fine HC? Yet when Manning and the Miracles as they would become known as, made that awesome run. I was captured nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. I didn’t care what social lines or boundaries I crossed I was Rock Chalk baby. Luckily I was pretty tough. LOL I wanted everything KU. Shirts, hoodies, shorts, stickers. and anything KU. Sadly I was from a poor family and wasn’t able to show my support with the gear so many other kids did. "( . So I watched and learned.

    Then a strange thing happened after that great season. HC Larry Brown left? Still in the newness of my love for KU I wasn’t sure what to feel. I was amused not really sure what losing a HC really meant. I mean understood some things, having played sports most of my life. Getting a new coach was like starting over, maybe even learning a new system of playing. It really wasn’t a big deal to me, as from my personal youth experience it happened many times and more than likely would happen again.

    Then HC Roy Williams was hired at the behest of Dean Smith. Didn’t have a clue who old Dean was but he seemed to me a man with some power. Hey growing up on the streets of KC you may not know the subject but you understand who the players are and who has the power. There seemed to be a bit of an Ho-hum mindset to this new HC. His first year was well less than inspiring to a 15 year old. It started out with a bang but quickly fizzled out. Later I would come to really appreciate that first year. With the post season ban and injuries in all, it only grew my love for KU Basketball. That never quit mindset was all I knew, so I could relate.

    Then 1989 holy cow everything changed. KU with second year HC Roy Williams, entered into the preseason NIT. That field was stacked. I remember nobody given KU a shot, even I was just hoping for a good showing, a good fight if you will. KU shocked the world. (at least to me) KU while winning the whole thing upset #2 LSU, #1 UNLV and #25 St Johns. Are you kidding me? KU went from being unranked I think to being rated #1 or #2. Wow. HCRW brought a whole new system of playing the game for me. Say what you want about HCRW, but his KU teams were explosive. Deep runs and trips to the Final 4 would follow. Watching KU play was a must, and a thing of beauty. Games at he Fieldhouse would become a thing of mastery. HCRW teams just didn’t beat you they made you look bad. They would blow you off the court. Every year brought new hope and a greater understanding of the game. DoubleDD was growing up and cutting his teeth on the most historical program in CB history. It was in these years that I began to learn and understand KU’s position and it’s contribution to the game I was in love with. I loved Old HCRW. To this day I still believe his 96/97 team with Peirce, LaFrentz, Pollard, Jacque, and Downtown Billy Thomas was one of the best ever to step onto the hardwood.

    Then it happened. HCRW left just like HCLB. I have to admit it was like somebody suckered punched me. I never seen it coming. I had thought that the whole returning to UNC had been put to rest two years prior, when HCRW said no. I got a little bitter of the whole deal. The hardness in my heart was forming. Just as mad as I was. I was just as worried about the future of KU Basketball. What now? I’ll be honest even to this day I’m still upset about the whole thing. Not so much at HCRW as I came to terms of why he did what he did. In the end he had no choice. Where my anger hangs out is with HCDean Smith. Having been a person that as overcame adversity against all odds more than once in my life. I began to understand the power of leadership and it’s affects on those in the circle. Dean Smith may have been a class act and a great guy but what he did to HCRW was just wrong. It wasn’t about bringing OLD Roy home as he made it sound. UNC was in trouble and falling of the map. Dean Smith was trying to save his legacy and in turn cost HCRW the greatness that was awaiting him. Sadly OLD HCRW becomes nothing more than a foot note in the history of UNC an KU basketball. In the end HCDean Smith was found to be selfish and cost his most prized pupil at any real greatness. The lesson learned here is never underestimate the power of the HC.

    The ideal of handpicking a HC from the Fighting Illini left more questions than answers for me. I’ll admit it. I had a haughty spirit. I was like come on this is KU. If not the birth place of basketball the nursery, grade school, middle school, junior high and High school where it was protected and cared for. I wasn’t expecting the greatness that HCBS has brought to KU. His toughness and straightforward candidness has become something that I not only love but look forward too. Even though his tournament success can be argued he is flirting with KU greatness. Once again KU HC’s have passed the torch with much success.

    I’ve come to believe that KU just breeds good to great HC’s. In my brief love affair that I’m turning into a love of a life time. I’ve really only seen three HCs at KU and each one carried the mantle with toughness, a desire to succeed, and a respect for KU’s tradition. HCLB and even Old HCRW still talk of the greatness of the KU program. It’s almost like they feel blessed to have been apart of such a storied program. That coaching in the Field house encompassed their passion. That the Phog of Allen made them better coaches. That KU land the final resting place of the inventor of the game inspired them to love the game for what it was and what it is. That fans though the faces change invoke the very spirit of why we play basketball. I’ve come to the conclusion KU brothers and sisters. HC don’t make KU basketball, but KU basketball makes HC’s. HCBS one day if not already will be at the crossroads of his career. Should I go pro of should I stay in live out a legacy? He will have to chose. No matter what choice he makes KU will be fine. We always are.

    The power of HC’s is awesome. Billy Donovan leaving for the NBA Inspired me to right about this topic. Billy in his own right is a bit of a legend. Did quite well for himself in the land of the Gators. Lets not forget this is football country. As I so often do I asked the question. Why? Why did he leave? Was it money? Was it Florida? Then I asked the question what becomes of Florida? Can they survive? I mean lets face Florida basketball was nothing before Donovan. It’s also the question I ask about Duke. I know Duke won a NC before HCMK but lets be honest Duke basketball is MK. What happens when he leaves?

    Just a few musings I have had the last few days.

  • @DoubleDD

    What amazes me is that Kansas has only had 7 coaches since 1898!

    James Naismith 1898 - 1907

    Phog Allen 1907 - 1956

    Dick Harp 1956 - 1964

    Ted Owens 1964 - 1983

    Larry Brown 1983 - 1988

    Roy Williams 1988 - 2003

    Bill Self 2003 - today

  • @drgnslayr I swear I’m in the twilight zone - I would have bet a bazillion dollars that Self was the eighth coach. I know there were a couple of temporary “fill-ins” - Engleman , Hamilton… Regardless - it has to be right up there in WOW factor with Self’s home court record and the fact that he’s got more consecutive conference titles than home losses.

    I looked up a bunch of other college’s coaching history a while back and most of them had 18-25 (or so) coaches in their history. I gueus it’s a pretty good job…

  • @nuleafjhawk

    I have always heard Self is #8… but when I did my research, I only count 7! Am I missing someone? Or is it just east coast media trying to lower the bar at Kansas?

  • He is 8.

    You forgot William Hamilton on the list.

  • @drgnslayr

    You left off:

    William O. Hamilton: 1909–1919, 125–59 - 0.679

  • Just another stat to confirm my old fart status. I’ve been in AFH to see half of them coach games.

    Really, it is amazing we’ve only had 8 coaches at KU.

  • @DoubleDD

    Sadly OLD HCRW becomes nothing more than a foot note in the history of UNC an KU basketbal

    There is no way he will just be a footnote in the history of either school. He is second only to Dean Smith in number of wins at UN, has the best winning % of any coach with at least 100 games…plus 2 National Championships. At KU, he is arguably the second most successful coach behind Bill Self, and has the second most wins (418) after Phog Allen (590) who coached at KY for 39 years compared to Williams 15 years.

    I honestly believe that we all knew that Roy Williams would eventually return to UNC, and it was not a mater of if but when. I agree that the way it went down was not good but for this the blame falls entirely on Dean Smith, a former KU player and coach, who really should have done better for his Alma Mater and not really on Roy Williams.

  • Banned


    It depends on what you view as a success. No doubt Old HCRW has the numbers. Yet when talking about UNC and KU will HCRW be the first name thrown out there? I doubt it. HCRW if he would have stayed at KU would become a legend. They would be naming streets and buildings after him. Statues would be erected in his honor and so on.

    As time passes old Roy Williams will be just a footnote.

  • I’m so glad I went to the 60th reunion. Those coaches loved their time at KU, lots of funny stories and lots of tears. They all knew AFH was a special place, like none other!

  • @DoubleDD

    As time passes old Roy Williams will be just a footnote.

    I strongly disagree. At UNC he already has as many National Titles as Dean Smith does in one third of the time…and he is favorite for the upcoming season. You have to keep in mind that much like the younger KU fans, not too many of the younger UNC fans remember Dean Smith in the same way that many if not most KU fans, I am not talking about the rabid, die-hard fans, but the more casual, younger fans, do not have a clue of who Phog Allen was…other than the name on the Field house. The attention span seems to be the last 20-30 years, any thing before that is largely unknown or ignored. If Roy Williams stays at UNC for another 10 years, there is no question he will be the most successful coach there. The only thing that could derail this plan is if the academic scandal reaches him and he is force to leave in the near future.

    By virtue of his amazing conference streak and overall record plus one National Championship, Coach Self will be the top coach at KU for the foreseeable future but Coach William will be second.

    IMHO, he will not be just a footnote in either program and I guess on this we just agree to disagree.

  • Banned


    Oh I can see Roy receiving a national foothold, has he does have the success to merit such an honor. Maybe you have a point about UNC but not at KU. OH there will be those like you that will want to slap the legend tag on Roy. However it won’t stick, and that’s all I was trying to say.

    It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing, it’s about understanding. Maybe I gave a poor explanation of what I mean that Roy will be just a footnote in the history of KU and UNC. As he is a fine coach and still root for the man. What I mean as he had something special at KU. If he would have continued at KU there is now doubt he becomes the stuff legends are made of. However him going back home to UNC at the behest of Dean Smith he cost him that shot at legendary status. Roy will be remembered is a very good HC, the numbers prove that. Yet he will never be a legend. Never mentioned in the same breath as a Dean Smith, Coach K, or a Phog Allen.

    That’s why I believe old Roy becomes just a footnote.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Roy second to Bill Self? Don’t you mean Bill Self second to Phog Allen? And Larry Brown with an NCAA championship is arguably better than Roy?

    I’m speaking of KU stats and ranking of coaches.

  • @JayhawkRock78

    Larry Brown’s stay at KU was too short lived to be in the company of the other coaches and, IMHO, the title is one of those, much like UConn last year, that was more of a fluke than anything else. Coach Williams overall record at KU is much better than Coach Brown’s. Unfortunately the younger generations do not have the drive that ours has to look way back into the past and 20-30 years is as far back as it goes and for most, even less than that. The majority (did not say all) of KU fans under 40 know next to nothing about Phog Allen and the extent of the knowledge is that he was former coach after whom the Field house is named. I would venture to guess that half of all KU fans do not know who Wilt was and that he played for KU…same thing with Larry Brown. You have to consider that the members of this forum are what I would say are in the 99.9% in knowledge about KU. The great majority of fans follow the team and the current season but cannot name a player gone for more than 5 years…not every body is as dedicated or knowledgeable as the group posting here and realistically even here, how many member do we have that have more than 100 posts in KUBUCKETS? Would it surprise you that is less than 60? We are not by any means typical fans, were are a tinny group and pretty much the exception.

  • I see what you mean about the short visit Brown had at KU. And certainly KU got some breaks with upsets in the 1988 tourney. But Brown has had success elsewhere in the bBall world too. That doesn’t mean I am not a huge fan of his or Danny and that team. The 50-50 halftime score. We had just been to the final four two years prior so we were the real deal as far as I’m concerned. But just my opinion about Brown over Roy because of the title. Roy did great things here during his time and I can see how anyone would rank him higher.

    As for the youngsters. You are right. My teenage daughter knows players (Withey) is her favorite, and Coach Self. I’ve told her about other coaches and players-I doubt she remembers any of them but Naismith and Allen.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “We are not by any means typical fans, were are a tinny group and pretty much the exception.”

    Yeap… I’m a KU old fart diehard. And I’m sure I’m not the only one! But I have to admit that my memory sucks and I count a lot on Google these days to “refresh my jug.” Too many hard concussions (so I’m told since I can’t remember).

    I have to give my thumbs up more to Larry over Roy. I remember when Larry came to Kansas. The word was “we need a coach that will restore the winning tradition of Kansas basketball.” Ted won a lot of games, but we were in desperate need of another National Championship. Larry accomplished that task in a relative short order. Roy couldn’t quite get there and I was always upset with his recruiting rule of not going East. Always makes me mad even today when UNC recruits a player west of North Carolina. Other than that… Roy was a great coach.

  • @DoubleDD In my mind, Roy IS a KU legend. Besides the Larry Brown quickie, we (KU) had been in a bit of funk under Ted Owens for a few years. (Btw, I love Ted Owens - I recently read his book " At the Hang Up " and it was really inspiring to me to find out what a hard working, loyal, dedicated Christian man he is.)

    Anyway, Ol Roy brought KU back into the national limelight and kind of (re)paved the way for Bill Self. Roy was, and to some extent still is, a great ambassador for KU. I doubt if he’s ever said a bad word about KU, players or fans. Well, count out Al Bohl…

  • I liked Ted. Owens and he took us to a final four while I was at KU., but he did not deliver beyond that. I remember when they made him fire his assistants to buy him time-in the end it didn’t matter. UT did the same thing to Barnes a short while ago and he refused. I don’t have any comments on either play on either coach or university.

    But I did think he had more than enough time for another final four at a minimum. We are a big program and expect big things.

  • Banned


    When I say Roy Williams will be nothing more than a footnote. I never meant disrespect to him and what he has done for KU. After all it was under his tenure that I really learned about KU and it’s contributions to the game of basketball. I’m not trying to take anything away from HC Roy, as I respect the man and what he did for KU. Even to this day I will watch a UNC game not for the matchup or the players on the court but because of the coach they have. Roy Williams.

    My point is Roy Williams was on the cusp of Legend material at KU. When he left to go home it cost him that legendary status. That’s all.

    Even at UNC who will the now and future pay homage to? Dean Smith or Roy Williams? I’m sorry Roy Williams is a mere foot note. Unless he can go onto win at least 3 more championships. Then the substance changes

  • @DoubleDD Smith won 2 championships, same as Roy. The difference is that he was coach for 36 years, 11 final fours, and 23 consecutive tournament appearances. I agree, that 3 more championships would make the time and consistency there irrelevant in terms of Legend status for Roy, but winning even 1 more would tie him for 4th all time for multi-championship coaches. I’d say one more and his Legend status at UNC would be complete.

    John Wooden UCLA 10

    Mike Krzyzewski Duke 5

    Adolph Rupp Kentucky 4

    Jim Calhoun Connecticut 3

  • I think some of you are being a little too hard on Dean Smith, blaming him for Roy Williams leaving for North Carolina. Dean Smith may have provided a pathway for Roy to leave, but Roy clearly says in “Beyond the Phog” by Jason King that Al Bohl was the reason he left KU. He talks about how unhappy he was because of the lack of support from Bohls and that every day was a battle. He also says that if Bohls had been fired 6 months earlier, he may never have left. Also, both his dad and his sister were in bad health and both died within 2 years of his return to NC. Dean Smith may have provided the way. out, but I doubt he provided the motivation. Remember, he turned Dean down 3 years before.

  • @approxinfinity Come on, man, don’t you know that national championships are lucky? What top program would even think to measure themselves by national titles? Geez, you gotta win 6 games in a row. In a single elimination format, how can the real best team ever win? Look how many times Duke and UConn have gotten lucky. Self has just had bad luck. Can’t penalize him for bad luck. Look at the Stanford game. What were we to do? And the Wichita St. game. How was Kansas ever expected to win? How many league titles did Roy win at UNC? Isn’t that the better question? Wouldn’t that make him a legend?

    Now can I (puke)?

  • @HighEliteMajor I have always agreed with you that National Titles and Final 4’s are the most important thing. The Big 12 titles are nice but not really what I think we should hang our hat on.

    Duke is a machine. They win the ACC most years. They go to the Final 4 all of the time. They have 5 national titles since 1991. It is insane.

    I don’t put UCONN in this category. Yes, they have 4 titles but they are the biggest anomaly of any program. They only have 5 Final 4’s. Somehow someway they either don’t have much of a season or they go all the way. It is crazy. Personally I would not trade KU’s success for UCONN’s. UCONN is simply too up and down as a program. Last year is a great example of why I would not trade. They win it all 2 years ago and follow it up with a non tourney year.

  • @joeloveshawks I would definitely trade places record and achievement-wise with UConn during their run of four national titles. And no … for those whose immediate response might be defensive … I wouldn’t rather root for UConn. It is an interesting analysis. But I’d take the national titles, and periods of NITs or nothing like UConn has had. That is retrospective though. I’d much rather take our program and our standing moving forward. But looking back, I’d rather have the hardware and banners.

    I do value conference titles. Don’t get me wrong. It just depends upon what you desire. I see certain folks that regularly slobber over conference titles and seem to care very little and/or take great pains to tell everyone why national titles aren’t worth that much. They work very hard to argue that point. That’s fine. But logically, they fail.

    They fail because there is a pecking order. There are many conferences. Many conference title trophies. There is one national title trophy. It is how you determine the true champion. Not the best team. But the champion.

    I don’t think I have recalled one coach showing tears for winning his conference title. But it’s common place when in comes to national titles.

    It is interesting that national title banners in Allen are separate, large, and displayed prominently at the end of the fieldhouse, while all the conference titles are neatly arranged on one banner. Wonder why that is?

    Again, the conference titles are very nice. I’d rather win them than not win them. They are a factor in determining great programs. A conference title, though, is part of the path to greatness – it’s not greatness.

    Our accrual of titles in a succession is an historic achievement. I get that. But I take much more pride in the 2008 title, and even our great run in 2012, than I do in the conference title streak.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Those programs were lucky. They beat the teams they were supposed to beat in order to face the teams they were not supposed to face. That’s what we need to do. Survive and advance.

    Duke did plenty of losing to lesser teams over the last decade too though. In fact it would look very comparable to Selfs tenure except for winning the last one with a 9 stack in a pretty horribly officiated game. So I’ll say thanks but no thanks to the Duke way. Let’s just talk about UConns success.

  • I don’t know how one coach qualifies as a legend and the next doesn’t. I think it is a personal thing. There are many who still don’t think Wooden is a legend.

    Players seem to pick up the title “legend” easier. I’ve got EJ as a legend after he personally spanked ISU and their fans with… what was it… 39 pts? If I look down the list of college coaches that have won a national championship, I probably wouldn’t call more than half of them legends. But I would call several coaches that never won a title, legends.

    I don’t believe math should figure in as to who is legend and who isn’t.

    In my book, Self is on his way to legend status, whether he wins another NC or not. I do think it will help add to the shine if he wins another one or two… or how about 5 more? How about he edges out Coach K, just so we can (once again) trump Duke.

    The question to me… is Duke a basketball legend school? Remove K from the formula before answering. I could have guessed it was a Duke grad that bid up the basketball rules…

    I’ll be having dinner tonight with my Duke-grad nephew, who is in town visiting. We haven’t spoken to each other since Christmas. I’m sure he will be full of pride about another championship. Over Christmas, we were both already licking our wounds from our assumptions that UK was on their way to winning it all. At least that didn’t happen!

    Glad we get a shot at Kentucky in AFH. After winning that game, I want another shot at Duke, this time in the FF next year!

  • Banned

    I guess the real question is what defines a legend?

    Roy on paper would seem to be a lock for legend status. However do numbers make a legend? For instance Johnny Orr is considered a legend in his own right. Yet it wasn’t like Iowa state was building new trophy cases because of all the Championships Orr was winning. Even Mister Naismith is considered a legend despite being the only HC to have a losing record at KU. Of course he did invent the game. 😉

    No I think there is more to it. As @approxinfinity was comparing Smith’s success against Roy’s. Yet 30 years from now who will be remembered Smith or Roy? Say Cal goes onto win 3 or 4 titles does he become a legend.

    I don’t mean to upset anyone I just don’t think Roy gets his legend status, even though he might have the numbers to back it up. UNC will always be Smith’s school, and he left KU. You don’t make somebody a legend that dumps you. I believe if Roy stays at KU he does become a legend.

    To answer the question what is a legend. I went back to my original post and the fond memories of my beloved Jayhawks. A legend not only wins games, conference championships, and National titles. He also loses key games in key places and key times. A legend becomes the backbone of his team and even the school. A legend not only teaches the game but also how to be a man and succeed in life. A legend is always humble, and gives way more respect to the rival than needed. A legend celebrates in triumphs, and saddens in failure and defeat. A legend never gives up as there is always a teaching moment.

    Most of all a legend bleeds the school colors when you cut him.

  • Just want to make my opinion a little clearer – All of our coaches are coaching legends. Kansas is very unique with the duration of the coaches’ tenures. We’re very lucky. I’m not so sure that you can coach at top schools like Kansas, UNC, etc., though, and be considered “great” without a national title. Roy and Self both have that on their resume. That box is checked.

  • @DoubleDD I am a legend… In my own mind!!!

  • @Crimsonorblue22

    Well…you are the top ranked poster at KUBUCKETS…that makes you a legend in the Forum… 🙂

  • Motor mouth!

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