Donors willing to pay to keep Self with Jayhawks

Kansas coach Bill Self is introduced during a rally at Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., on Tuesday. Orlin Wagner, The Associated Press

AP

Kansas coach Bill Self is introduced during a rally at Kansas Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, Kan., on Tuesday. Orlin Wagner, The Associated Press

By The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If big bucks are needed to fend off Oklahoma State and keep Bill Self as the Jayhawks’ basketball coach, wealthy Kansas donors seem ready to reach for their wallet.

“If they’re going to need to raise a lot of money, I’m sure there will be many people step forward,” Dana Anderson, a businessman/developer and prominent Kansas donor, told The Associated Press. “Bill Self is a great individual and a great coach and he’s perfect for Kansas.”

Immediately after Kansas beat Memphis in overtime Monday night for the NCAA championship, speculation intensified that oil and energy magnate T. Boone Pickens might be coming after the Jayhawks’ coach on behalf of Oklahoma State.

An Oklahoma native who played for the Cowboys and was an assistant coach at the school, Self remains popular there.

Pickens, who once gave Oklahoma State’s athletic department a $165 million donation, could probably outbid any single Kansas booster. But with an extensive alumni base and a love of athletics, the Jayhawks are not without financial firepower of their own.

Wealthy boosters already are paying for an extensive state-of-the-art football facility set to open this summer, including the Anderson Family Football Complex. Since Lew Perkins arrived as athletic director five years ago, the Jayhawks have raised millions for other capital improvements as well, including to Allen Fieldhouse.

Plus, Kansas fans are tired of losing coaches whose teams play in NCAA championship games. Larry Brown left for the NBA after winning the 1988 national championship, and Roy Williams heeded North Carolina’s call just days after Syracuse beat Kansas for the 2003 title.

“I don’t think people would want to see that happen again,” said Monte Johnson, another prominent Kansas booster. “Everybody wants to see Bill Self stay at Kansas.”