Last week, Kansas head coach Bill Self made comments that surprised many college basketball fans. Self claimed that he has “said all along that if I could go to my late 50s, that’d be good for me.” Kansas fans must realize that there will be a time when Self will not be the Jayhawks’ head coach. Self said that he would at least coach through his current contract, which expires at the end of the 2021-22 season. Self will be 59 years old when his contract expires.
There are many coaches that do not have connections to KU that will be considered for the job. I will discuss the credentials of those coaches at a later time. Here are some potential replacements for Self who have connections to KU:
Manning is currently the head coach at Wake Forest. Last year he took the Demon Deacons to their NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010. He got his first head coaching job at Tulsa and took them to the NCAA Tournament in his second year there.
Manning has strong ties to the Kansas program. He is Kansas’s all-time leading scorer with 2,951 career points and led the Jayhawks to the 1988 National Championship. He was the most successful Kansas Basketball player since Wilt Chamberlain entered the NBA Draft in the late 1950’s.
Danny Manning also served as an assistant coach under Bill Self from 2006-2012. Several big men improved as players under his tutelage, including Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson, Thomas Robinson, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Jeff Withey, and Sasha Kaun.
The only thing keeping Manning from being the lead contender for the KU job is that he will be 56 years old in 2022. He will not be a candidate for the job if he is like Self and does not plan on coaching into his sixties.
Wake Forest will be an interesting team for Jayhawks fans to watch over the next several years. If the Demon Deacons can prove that they can compete with the ACC’s juggernauts, Manning will receive offers from other schools. I think Wake Forest will improve a lot in the next few years, and I think Manning will soon be in line to get a better job. Even if Manning is 56 years old, Kansas would be foolish not to at least consider him for the job.
Townsend has been Bill Self’s top assistant over the past thirteen years. As Self’s lead recruiter, he has been able to secure many big-time players. According to KU’s website, Townsend was instrumental in the recruitment of Andrew Wiggins, Ben McLemore, Sherron Collins, Frank Mason, Josh Jackson, and several other Jayhawk stars over the past dozen years.
He has never been a head coach at a Division I college, which somewhat hurts his candidacy. He has been an assistant for several decades, and there is some history for a long-time assistant taking over for an established head coach. Bill Guthridge was Dean Smith’s lead assistant for three decades and took over for Smith at North Carolina in the late-1990’s. He had plenty of success and led the Tar Heels to a pair of Final Fours in his three years as the head coach. If the Jayhawks do not think there is a worthy successor to Self, they could play it safe and go with Townsend for a few years.
Haase was a guard at Kansas from 1993 to 1997 and was an assistant coach for the Jayhawks from 1999 to 2003. He then went to UNC to stay with Roy Williams. He got his first head coaching job in 2012 at UAB and took the Stanford job last year. Haase is relatively young at 43 years old, but he has a lot of experience coaching big-time players. Haase will need to make Stanford a contender in the Pac-12 if he wants to be considered for the KU job. If he succeeds at Stanford he will be near the top of the list of candidates to replace Self.
Could the coach’s son take the reins of the program? Tyler Self is currently beginning a career in basketball with the San Antonio Spurs as a Basketball Operations Quality Assurance Assistant. He was a walk-on at KU and graduated this past spring. Self will not have enough experience to take the reigns of a big-time college basketball program in 2022. Self will not be KU’s ninth head coach, but he could be a head coach at a major program at some point.