More from The Q&A: Mike de la Garza
When it comes to Bill Self, everyone wants to look ahead.
Will he and his Jayhawks win the national championship?
Will he be the next coach at Oklahoma State?
Instead of looking ahead, I wanted to look back a bit this week in “The Q&A.” No one better to help with that than former Edmond High boys basketball coach Mike de la Garza. Now the athletic director at Edmond Memorial, de la Garza coached Self as a prepster.
Here is The Q&A with de la Garza in its entirety:
Jenni Carlson: Admit it — you taught Bill everything he knows.
Mike de la Garza: No, the honest truth is Bill Self has done a whole lot more for me than I ever did for him.
JC: That’s not true, is it?
MD: That’s the truth. I was a brand new coach here in 1976. One of the first kids I met was Bill Self. He was in the eighth grade. People forget what a good player Bill was. We won 66 games while he played for us in high school. They went to the state tournament every year. Those three years, we got rolling, and his play was a really big part of that.
JC: What kind of player was he then?
MD: He had a sixth sense about where to pass the ball. He didn’t turn it over. He made timely free throws. Senior year, he led us in scoring, rebounding, assists and guarded everybody’s best player. And his senior year, he made six game-winners, you know where you go, “Three, two, one” to win the game? He did it six times in one year. We won 20, and six of ‘em were at the buzzer.
JC: So, that’s what you mean when you say he did more for you than you did for him.
MD: Oh, yeah.
JC: What’s your favorite memory of him as a player?
MD: That’s really easy. We were in the state tournament in the state semifinals playing Altus. We were down one and had the ball. We were going to run this play for Kelly Jobe. They doubled Kelly up, so Bill just took it, penetrated straight to the basket, dished the ball off to this guy named Eric Ford, who laid it up at the buzzer to win to go to the state finals. It was just the most unbelievable basketball play, and this heady sophomore goes in there and dishes it off. We were all so excited. I remember we were walking off the court, and Bill … he’s just trying to catch his breath. He’s just gasping because he’s so jacked about it.
JC: You’ve maintained a close relationship with Bill. Are headed to San Antonio for the games?
MD: I really want to go. I may not get down there Saturday, but if they get past that Saturday game, there’s no way I won’t be there Monday.
JC: That would mean Bill’s playing for a national title. What has watching all of this been like for you?
MD: It’s a tremendous amount of satisfaction for a high school basketball coach to watch their players play. But then, you get to chance to see them mature and develop not only as individuals but professionally. For Bill to choose coaching and to take his coaching to the level he has taken it is just an unbelievable sense of pride in him and what he does. He’s a big part of our family. My son and his son … we just live Kansas basketball. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself — is this really real? For us to watch him on television in these high-powered games with these high-powered teams, it’s just really fun.
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