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April 10, 2008

Self turns down Oklahoma St., stays at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. Bill Self has turned down an opportunity to coach at his alma mater and will remain at the University of Kansas.

An Oklahoma State alum, Self said he met with Cowboys athletic director Mike Holder for two hours at a hotel in Johnson County, Kansas Wednesday evening. Self contacted Holder Thursday morning and informed him of his decision.

"Home called," Self said. "But this is home now."

And it could be that way for a long time.

Self has agreed to a new contract with Kansas that should be signed within the next few weeks. Details of Self's new deal were not revealed Thursday, but it's clear he'll soon be making more than the $1.375 million he earned while leading Kansas to the 2007-08 national title.

"Bill will be compensated at the highest level," athletic director Lew Perkins said.

Florida coach Billy Donovan, who earns $3.5 million per year, is currently the highest-paid coach in college basketball.

Self, 45, has won four Big 12 title since taking over for Roy Williams in 2003 and is 51-4 in his last 55 games. Still, his crowing moment came Monday night in San Antonio when the Jayhawks won their first national title in 20 years by beating Memphis 75-68 in overtime.

"Now we've won one," Self said. "But how cool would it be to win two?"

Kansas fans have spent the past few days wondering if that would ever be possible. Along with it being Self's alma mater, Oklahoma State's athletic department is backed by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, who has donated more than $235 million to the school in recent years.

Speculation was that Pickens and Oklahoma State were prepared to make Self the highest-paid coach in all of college sports. Reports out of Oklahoma indicated Self would be offered as much as $4.5 million per season as well as a $6 million signing bonus to coach the Cowboys.

Self, though, said he never spoke with Pickens and that the topic of money was never broached during his Wednesday meeting with Holder.

"There was never serious interest on our part of leaving the University of Kansas," Self said. "But there was serious interest in listening.

"I said all along that I would encourage (Oklahoma State) to move in a different direction if I was contacted. I was contacted, and that's what I encouraged them to do. This hasn't been a stressful situation for me at all.

"We're at peace with what we feel is best. We feel what's best for us is to be here. That's not a knock on anybody. There are only two schools in my eyes. We wish (Oklahoma State) the very best."

During his negotiations with Perkins, Self continued to stress the need for facility upgrades at Allen Fieldhouse, as well as the construction of a practice facility that will connect to the historic building. Plans for both of those projects are underway, Perkins said.

Efforts will also be made to boost the salaries of Self's assistant coaches.

With the Oklahoma State situation now behind, Self is preparing to hit the recruiting trail on Friday. The Jayhawks lose five seniors from its national championship team, and sources close to junior Brandon Rush have told Yahoo! Sports that Rush has decided to turn pro.

Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur are also considering entering the NBA draft. If they do, that would leave Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich as the only two returning players who saw significant action last season.

"We're still going to be good," Self said. "We've got six new guys coming and we're ready to recruit some more. I can't wait to walk into a gym with something on that says, 'National Champion.'"

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