Thursday, April 17, 2003

Kansas to talk to Illinois' Self

By Jim Paul
The Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kansas received permission Wednesday to speak with Illinois basketball coach Bill Self about replacing Roy Williams.

"Kansas has contacted us, and apparently will be contacting Bill," said Illinois sports information director Kent Brown.

Self left Illinois on Wednesday for a Florida vacation and did not immediately return a call to his cell phone.

Williams resigned Monday to become coach at North Carolina, his alma mater. He spent 15 seasons with the Jayhawks, guiding them to four Final Fours, and he left a week after the team lost to Syracuse in the national title game.

Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther did not return a call seeking comment.

"It's really Bill's situation at this point," Brown said. "We are in a waiting period until one party or the other would indicate what their plans are."

Self was a graduate assistant coach at Kansas in 1985 and has roots in the Big 12 going back to his playing days at Oklahoma State, where he also was an assistant.

"Certainly, I understand why there would be speculation, with my relationship with the University of Kansas in the past," Self said Tuesday night.

"If they do call, I may say, 'Let's visit,' or after talking a few minutes I may say, 'I don't feel it.' I certainly wouldn't mislead anyone," Self said.

Self told more than 700 Illini supporters at the team's annual postseason banquet that he is happy at Illinois, but he did not close the door on a move.

"This is a great, great program," Self said. "I don't know what the future holds, but I am excited to be your coach."

This past season, Illinois went 25-7 and won the Big Ten tournament championship. In three seasons with the Illini, Self is 78-24.

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