Bill Self signs 'lifetime' contract extension with KU

Matt Galloway
Topeka Capital-Journal
Kansas men's basketball head coach Bill Self and the university have agreed to a "lifetime" contract extension for Self to remain with the Jayhawks for the remainder of his career, KU announced Friday morning. Self has gone 522-118 in his 18 seasons with KU.

LAWRENCE — Bill Self isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

The University of Kansas on Friday morning announced it has signed its men’s basketball head coach to “a lifetime contract,” a five-year rolling agreement that automatically adds one year at the end of each completed season for the remainder of the 58-year-old’s coaching career. Self’s current contract was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 campaign.

Self will make $5.41 million per year under the terms of his new agreement, with $2.435 million of that coming by way of an annual retention bonus.

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“Every day, I am reminded just how fortunate I am to lead this storied program and there truly is no place else I would rather be,” Self said in a news release. “As we continue to work through the challenges facing our program, we look forward to moving ahead and focusing on our bright future.”

A Naismith Hall of Famer, Self has compiled a 522-118 record in his time with KU, with a national championship, three Final Four berths and 15 regular-season Big 12 championships coming during his 18-season tenure in Lawrence.

“I’m excited to remain your basketball coach,” Self said, “and compete for many championships in the future.”

Self’s newly minted agreement to stick around comes at a time of uncertainty for KU, which is disputing five Level I violations brought against the program by the NCAA for alleged recruiting missteps. The newly formed Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) has accepted KU's challenge of those charges and is expected to at some point this year decide on the Jayhawks’ fate.

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If nothing else, though, it appears any potential punishment stemming from that infractions case won't cost Self his job. Per the terms of the contract, both Self and KU agreed that the university "will not terminate (Self) for cause due to any current infractions matter that involves conduct that occurred on or prior to the date of full execution" of the new agreement. Self has in turn agreed to forfeit half his salary for the duration of any suspension issued by either the NCAA or the Big 12 that stems from the current case.

Should Self be fired by KU without cause, he would be owed a buyout payment of at least $5.41 million but no more than $7.845 million. Self's new deal also stipulates a $2 million buyout owed to KU should the head coach depart for a job in the NBA. 

Chancellor Doug Girod said Self “has embodied the spirit and tradition of KU” since his arrival.

“We believe in Coach Self and we believe in the future of our program under his leadership,” Girod said, “and we are thrilled that he will continue to be a Jayhawk for the rest of his coaching career.”

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Interim athletic director Kurt Watson echoed that sentiment.

“(Self) has changed the lives of so many young men that have played for him throughout his nearly 30 years as a head coach,” Watson said. “I have known Bill for many years, but working closely with him over the past few weeks in my current role has shown me even more so on a daily basis how deeply he cares about this program.

"We are certainly proud that he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at KU in 1985 and that this new contract will ensure he finishes his coaching career here as well.”