Whether you are a KU basketball fan or not. Whether you consider Bill Self to be one of college basketball’s finest coaches. Whether you really care about sports at all – you have to admit the photograph that leads off this post contains an impressive haul of hardware.
In the decade Self has coached at KU, there have been nine Big 12 regular season championships and six Big 12 postseason championships. Of course, the biggest prize of all is the National Championship trophy brought home from San Antonio in 2008. The month of August and a major portion of September involve very little game action in comparison to the heavy load of posed photographs I take every year for media guides, posters and other display pieces. The photograph of coach Self, though, was something a little different.
Just gathering everything and rearranging Self’s office for the display took the help of two our facility office’s surest hands, Frank Masterson and Tim Giblin. The Big 12 regular season trophies are very heavy, and none us wanted to live in infamy for dropping one. As we moved furniture, rearranged bookcases and hauled trophy after trophy into the office, the team’s communications director, Chris Theisen, mentally logged the long list of team and coaching awards.
We started the setup at nine o’clock. From a window looking down onto the team’s practice courts, I could see a video crew swarm around Self for what looked to be an instructional video. At 9:45, Self strolled into the office, checked the setup and immediately began changing from coaching gear into a suit. By 9:56, with the photographs completed, Self was changing clothes again. As he walked back through the setup on his way to an 11 o’clock teleconference, Self stopped to thank me again.
Surveying the scene a final time, Self shook his head in amazement and proudly said, “You know, Jeff, that really is pretty impressive.” Yes, coach, impressive indeed.