The colors blue and crimson are held in high regard near the StinkBOSS headquarters in Kansas City. If you’re a college basketball fan, you know what I’m talking about - The University of Kansas Men’s Basketball Team. Since Coach Bill Self is a StinkBOSS supporter, the “Stink” Team was fortunate enough to be able to meet with him last week. Even with the new season just about to get under way, Coach gave us some time to sit and talk, and we got to know the man behind The Jayhawk.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into Bill’s office was the National Championship trophy, right next to the game winning net. My mind immediately flashed back to 2008. 10 seconds left on the clock, 60 to 63, Memphis was ahead, and Mario Chalmers swished a 3-pointer, tying the game and sending it into overtime. Finally winning 75-68, the Jayhawks took home the title. An awesome moment for KU fans.
Coach Self knows how to work the seconds on the clock to his team’s advantage – one of the many reasons he’s a legend in the NCAA. But you wouldn’t know he’s racked up 352 wins during his 12 seasons at KU when you meet him. Bill was modest, friendly and genuine. He treated us like friends, almost making me forget I was standing in the presence of greatness. That was of course until my gaze shifted upward to a shelf lined with mint condition autographed basketballs, perfectly placed under overhead lighting, touched by KU’s greatest, including 10 NBA Lottery selections, two being Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, the # 1 and # 3 overall selections in the 2014 NBA Draft, and now playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers, respectively.
Bill was taller than I expected, reminding me that he was once a basketball player himself. He played at Oklahoma State where he was a four-year letter man. An injury ended his playing career, but that didn’t keep him from the game. He began his coaching career in 1985, as an assistant to Larry Brown at Kansas. He then assisted Leonard Hamilton at Oklahoma State, followed by Eddie Sutton. He landed his first head coaching post at Oral Roberts University, then moved to Tulsa University and Illinois, before landing in his current position at Kansas.
Bill’s success at KU is displayed throughout his office. Every corner is overflowing with trophies, game-winning basketballs and nets, diamond-encrusted championship rings and amazing KU memorabilia. Rock Chalk fan or not, game spirit is unavoidable here. His blue and crimson pride goes beyond his trophy displays, even in the way he talked about University life off the court, reminiscing about his daughter Lauren’s days as a student.
Then, of course, the conversation circled back to basketball. He gave us some insight about a few NCAA players and the current season. He talked about practices, and about how hard his young men work to prepare for the season. This brought the conversation around to stink. When we asked him about his Stinkboss, he playfully replied, “I wish I had a Stinkboss back in my playing days. A few of my teammates could have used it.” Bill said KU’s Stinkboss is used by his team managers. “Our program gets a lot of use out of the Stinkboss.” It’s awesome meeting customers who love our product, especially when it’s Bill Self!
Big thanks to Coach Self for taking time to meet with our team. We know his boys will be working hard for months to come, and we’re confident they’ll be busy well into March Madness. The KU team’s Stinkboss will be getting lots of use deodorizing hard-worn gear throughout the winter.
We wish the best of luck to the KU Men’s Basketball team this season - Rock Chalk!