Book Review – Bill Self: At Home in the Phog

Book Review – Bill Self: At Home in the Phog

Prior to reading this book I had heard the name Bill Self but didn’t know much about him. I could quickly relate to the development pathway that Bill underwent. Bill moved around chasing the best opportunity for development. He started under the great Larry Brown as a Graduate Assistant which is a common pathway for some of the great Head Coaches.

Some key points to come from the book:

  1. When moving from job to job Bill did it in an honest, open and respectful way. Professional sport is a business and people in the business understand that people need to chase the best opportunity for themselves. Respect still goes a long way in the business world. I can relate to this movement on my quest to be a head coach. I have tried hard to leave every club in the right way with a sense that I helped the club move in the right direction and I did my best.
  2. A major reason clubs accepted Self’s decision to move on to greener pastures came largely from the fact that he left the place in a much stronger position than when he arrived. If or when he ever leaves Kansas it will be in a stronger position than when he inherited it.
  3. No Ego. With all the success in improving every program he controlled – Self remains grounded and humble. This is a trait that is very uncommon in professional coaches.
  4. Selecting a staff that he could enjoy his time with was a priority for Self. Having fun people around to share the long hours with made things enjoyable. Self put great thought into selecting staff that offered different specialized skills to his own and to the other assistants. The staff complimented each other.
  5. Self took great pride in helping coaches to go on to become Head Coaches of other programs. On top of this when he left to go to a new program he did his best to make sure his former assistants got a job somewhere. He wasn’t just looking after himself, like so many people in professional sport do! Self also ensured that his assistant coaches were paid suitably and fought for more money for them. He also made assistant coaches make the same amount of money so there wasn’t any cause for unrest between the coaching staff. Additionally he gave them praise publicly to show appreciation and help build their profile.

Parcells and Spurrier in the process, stay tuned.

Rohan Smith



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