Guess who was a candidate in 1990?
Newspaper archives are one of the funnest rides you can take. I digging around through old stories Friday morning, trying to figure out how soon Eddie Sutton’s name popped up in the search after Leonard Hamilton resigned to go to Miami. The answer was very soon.
But that’s not the most interesting thing I found.
Let me explain. It became apparent that Sutton was the No. 1 candidate back in 1990, and years later Jack Hartman, the Kansas State coaching legend and Henry Iba disciple, told me he and some other ex-OSU players had to convince then-AD Myron Roderick that Sutton was the right choice. They were right, of course.
But on the eve of Sutton’s hiring, another candidate emerged, at least in the media. A 27-year-old OSU assistant. Bill Self.
The Oklahoman’s Mike Baldwin reported back in April 1990 that Self was receiving serious consideration. For the record, others joining Sutton as candidates were OU assistant Jim Kerwin, Illinois State coach Bob Bender, Arkansas assistant Scott Eckard and Arkansas-Little Rock coach Mike Newell, who in the middle of the OSU search took the Lamar job.
Self in 1990 was not so far removed from his OSU playing days under Paul Hansen. He was the Oklahoma high school Player of the Year in 1981, then played at OSU from 1981-85. Self was a graduate assistant under Larry Brown at Kansas for one year, then coached four years on Hamilton’s OSU staff.
In the same way that a young Mike Gundy had support for the OSU football job in 2000 (Les Miles was hired instead), some in power at OSU saw a spark in Self.
“I don’t know what my chances are, but I feel I’m ready,” Self told Baldwin back in 1990. “I think I’m a very capable recruiter and was taught by one of the very best in recruiting (Hamilton). It’s a delicate business. As far as Xs and Os go I was under one of the best in Larry Brown.
“My coaching style would be exciting to fans. I feel the game of the ’90s is up-tempo, pressure basketball, but my teams would be sound, well-drilled fundamentally. Another key factor is motivation.”
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