It is no secret Kentucky and Kansas are historically basketball first schools. Kentucky basketball head coach John Calipari got into a feud with football head coach Mark Stoops about the subject in August. Calipari said Kentucky is “a basketball school. It has always been that.”
Stoops did not appreciate these comments to say the least.
Kentucky football has had success under Stoops the past few years that very few ever saw coming when he was hired, including two 10-win seasons and four straight bowl wins, as mentioned in his tweet. The Wildcats were very forgettable in the college football world beforehand.
A football program of similar forgettable stature over the years is Kansas. In the 10 previous seasons the Jayhawks have had a record of 18-99. The program has not been to a bowl game since the Insight Bowl in 2008.
This season however, second-year head coach Lance Leipold has led the Jayhawks to a 5-1 record and top 20 status in the AP Poll – which they haven’t had since 2009. This success has made Kansas football America’s sweetheart, and has also made Kansas basketball head coach Bill Self very happy.
Self just led his Kansas team to a national title in the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and looks to do the same this upcoming season. However, Self isn’t letting all the focus be on his basketball program.
In an interview yesterday on ESPN’s College Gameday, when the crew visited Lawrence for the Kansas-TCU matchup, Self was asked by Pat McAfee how he plans to get better and feed off the energy of the football team’s success.
No one was prepared for his answer.
With a smirk on his face, Self replied with, “Well you know, we are a basketball school.” And before the crowd could get to riled up he yelled, “And! We’ll be a football school!” That quickly switched the crowd’s emotions as they started to cheer.
With an even bigger smirk on his face, as the crowd cheered and McAfee embraced his comment, Self said, “I don’t know why we can’t be both.” Self talked about how Kansas fans love their basketball and how they “love a football winner as well.” He finished by saying the football success is “good for basketball.”
The comments caused some buzz on Twitter.
This answer can definitely be taken has a jab toward Calipari, one of Self’s rivals. And after Calipari just took a first round loss to a No. 15 seed St. Peters, while Self won the national championship, Self has all the bragging rights in the world.
In that same breath, Self realizes what both basketball and football success can do for an athletic department. Embracing both programs was not something Calipari chose to do in August, but Self took his opportunity to do the opposite.
“From Our Haus to Yours!”