In the introduction to his new book "At Home in the Phog," University of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self recalls an exchange with journalist John Rohde, who ended up co-writing the book.

    "A few months after our 1999-2000 Tulsa team lost the South Regional final to North Carolina in Austin, longtime friend John Rohde of The Oklahoman newspaper asked me, 'Hey, if you ever write a book, I'd like to sign up for the job,'" Self says. "I laughed, looked at Rohde a little sideways and said, 'Aren't you supposed to do something before you write a book? Let me do something first.'


In the introduction to his new book "At Home in the Phog," University of Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self recalls an exchange with journalist John Rohde, who ended up co-writing the book.
    "A few months after our 1999-2000 Tulsa team lost the South Regional final to North Carolina in Austin, longtime friend John Rohde of The Oklahoman newspaper asked me, 'Hey, if you ever write a book, I'd like to sign up for the job,'" Self says. "I laughed, looked at Rohde a little sideways and said, 'Aren't you supposed to do something before you write a book? Let me do something first.'
    "Rohde smiled and said, 'You will.'"
    A journalist's instinctive foresight aside, the conversation in passing says something about Self, a coach who never gets too high on himself or too low on the players and coaches around him.
    The Daily Globe was invited to participate in a conference call Friday with Self and got some additional insights into the man, the coach and what it meant for all the traveling and job opportunities to finally come to fruition with the 2008 NCAA national championship at Kansas.
    Daily Globe: You say in the book, "I didn't want to look back and say I could've been coach at Kansas." What about that life decision of leaving a program on the verge of breaking through for a national championship for the Kansas job that an Illinois fan or a Tulsa fan doesn't understand?
    Bill Self: You make these decisions based on an opportunity for your family, and you make these decisions thinking about the long term, not the short term. If I thought I was only going to coach another five years, I probably would've stayed at Illinois.
    Everybody sees things through their own eyes, as well they should. The mentality there becomes, "Why would he want to leave the best team in the country for that, to go coach there?" That's the way we were with that Illinois team — we told them, "You guys are the best in the country," and that's how we recruited, saying "We're building for a national championship. When you come here, it's as part of the best team in the country." So when we left, you can't fault guys for feeling the way they felt. We told them there was no right and no wrong way to feel in that situation.
    DG: At what point did you go from the youngster on the [KU coaching staff during the Larry Brown tenure] who relished being able to play so much golf and who relished not having a lot of responsibility to someone who wanted to be a serious career coach?
    Self: I'd say around when I went to Oklahoma State University, because I was working under a coach who taught me the meaning of work. Under Leonard Hamilton, I really learned how to work. He worked harder than anyone I'd ever been around.
    DG: During an exchange from page 88, when you were introducing yourself to your new players after taking the KU job, Keith Langford asked you about what kind of player you were. And after giving your answer, Langford said, "So basically, you can't play." You said, "Exactly."
    Is that type of exchange between coach and player something that you get a kick out of and something you want to be a part of your relationship? Who on this year's team, which is a young team, feels able to give you some of that playful ribbing?
    Self: I want it that way. Guys know I'm going to give it to them, so they know they can give it right back. We never want them to get loose on the court, but we're around these guys so much and they're around us so much that we want to have that relationship where guys can joke around with you. Right now Sherron [Collins], [Cole] Aldrich, even the freshmen are coming along.
    Caller: Do you ever sit back and think of how much one shot changed your whole life? I mean the Chalmers shot (to win the NCAA championship in the waning seconds against Memphis).
    Self: Oh, I know which shot you were talking about. I wouldn't say it changed my whole life. I certainly got a nice contract because a player hit a big shot, but it hasn't changed who I am or my family or anything like that.
    DG: How much different is hearing "One Shining Moment" from the court than anywhere else? Is "One Shining Moment" any less cornball after a game like that against Memphis?
    Self: I never thought "One Shining Moment" was cornball. It's just so different when you're actually there and they're playing it for you. It means everything, and I thought our guys just did an amazing job acting the right way throughout the celebration — finding the Memphis players through it all and shaking their hands.
    Caller: What have you found to be the aftereffects of getting the national championship? Are guys more willing to buy into what you are trying to do on the floor?
    Self: It's nothing but a positive with incoming players. They recognize our situation with getting the championship, and they appreciate the situation we have here after getting the championship. It makes it a great situation going forward with all the new guys.
    DG: You talk about Larry Brown's "we" mentality while you recall the 110-year anniversary of KU basketball as he was speaking to the team. How long did it take you to feel that once you got to Kansas as the head coach?
    Self:  Not long at all — it's been that way everywhere I've been. Coach Brown taught me that, and he really takes it to the next level. When talking about one of his teams, he'll never use the word "I." Everything is "we," and it's an awesome example to follow.
    Bill Self's 2008-2009 Jayhawks are currently 3-0 They will play Syracuse in the College Basketball Experience finals at 9 p.m. today.