LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas coach Bill Self was discharged from a Kansas City-area hospital where he’d been recovering after a procedure to treat blocked arteries in his heart, and the Hall of Famer will rejoin the No. 3 Jayhawks for the defense of their NCAA championship.
His longtime assistant, Norm Roberts, said Self would probably be back in the office to begin preparing for Howard. That’s who the top-seeded Jayhawks will open the NCAA Tournament against in Des Moines, Iowa, after they were surprisingly put in the West Region by the selection committee.
“He talked to the guys earlier today and they were so excited to hear his voice,” Roberts said. “He was talking and getting after it like he normally does. He said, ‘Guys, I’m back. I’m ready to go.’ And he just talked about the things we need to do to be successful.”
Self went to the emergency room shortly after watching the Jayhawks in a final shootaround ahead of their Big 12 Tournament quarterfinal, and was complaining of chest tightness and concerns with his balance.
Dr. Mark Wiley, the chief of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Kansas Health System, said the 60-year-old Self underwent a standard heart catheterization and had two stents placed to help treat the blocked arteries.
“Coach Self responded well to the procedure and is expected to make a full recovery,” Wiley said.
Roberts also served as acting coach earlier in the season, while Self was serving a school-imposed four-game suspension. Kansas beat West Virginia and Iowa State in the Big 12 tourney with Roberts again on the bench before getting blown out 76-56 by seventh-ranked Texas in the championship game.
Now, Self is back.
“I’m so thankful for the amazing staff at the University of Kansas Health System for the excellent care I received,” Self said in a statement. “I am proud of our team and coaching staff for how they have handled this and am excited to be back with them as the best time of the season gets underway.”
Self is 581-130 during two decades at Kansas, and 788-235 in 30 seasons as a head coach, which includes stops at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois. He led the Jayhawks to the national title in 2008 with an overtime win over Memphis. Kansas then hung a sixth championship banner in Allen Fieldhouse after its win over North Carolina last April.
The Jayhawks, who won the regular-season Big 12 title, hardly seemed to be bothered by their lackluster loss to Texas, when they also were missing injured defensive stopper Kevin McCullar Jr. Instead, they were looking forward to the NCAA tourney and getting both McCullar and their coach back on the court.
“He’s one of the greatest coaches of all time so that’s a big bonus for us,” Jayhawks guard Dajuan Harris Jr. said. “We missed him last weekend. Coach Rob is great but having (Self) back is great for us. He’s been in March Madness a long time. He knows what he’s doing. We just have to have his back.”