The University of Kansas cruised to a 78-61 win over West Virginia in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament, but fans were also focused on the absence of the team's coach Bill Self. Bill was not at the game on March 9, 2023, and the team released a statement afterwards explaining his absence. As it turns out, Bill was receiving medical treatment and is now in recovery at the university's hospital.
Bill Self health update: The coach has been hospitalized.
Although initial media reports suggested that Bill had been hospitalized after a heart attack, the university's official statement refuted that account. The statement also said that Bill would be out for the rest of the Big 12 tournament, but didn't mention whether he would return in time for the NCAA tournament later in March.
“KU Men’s Basketball Coach Bill Self is a patient at the University of Kansas Health System. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Stites wants to clarify that Coach Self did not suffer a heart attack as reported by some media,” the statement explains. “He arrived at the emergency department last night and underwent a standard procedure that went well. He is expected to make a full recovery.”
“I am very grateful for the overwhelming number of well wishes my family and I have received,” Bill himself added. “I’m excited to get back with my team in the very near future.”
Although it sounds like the coach is likely to make a full recovery, it's unclear exactly what his illness was or what treatment he received. Fans will surely speculate, but it seems like the coach wants to keep those details private.
Bill has had a historic career with Kansas.
Fans are understandably concerned about Bill, in part because he's become such a beloved coach in the Kansas community over his years with the program. He is only the second coach in the history of the program to lead his team to multiple NCAA titles, and he has the second most wins of any Kansas coach in history. He also has the 18th most wins among Division I coaches in NCAA history.
Bill, who is now 60, has been a head coach at Kansas for 20 years, but before that he played basketball for Oklahoma State from 1981 to 1985. He started as an assistant coach right out of college, and worked his way up to become one of the highest-paid head coaches in college athletics. In 2021, Bill signed a lifetime contract extension with the Jayhawks, meaning that he will be with the team until he retires from the sport altogether.
Some were clearly fearing that that retirement would come sooner than anyone had planned, but it seems that won't actually be the case. Bill will be back on the court soon enough, and Jayhawks fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their long-time head coach hasn't gone anywhere. Whether he'll be back in time for this year's March madness, though, remains an open question.