Like most head coaches, Guntersville head boy’s basketball coach wasn’t aware that last Thursday’s 73-64 win over Columbia was the 100th of his head coaching career.
Self, who began his head coaching journey at Douglas High School before moving to Guntersville, said it was an assistant who alerted him to the milestone win, which gave him a chance to think back on the journey that led him to this point.
“I have to go back to Scott Bonds who hired me at Douglas,” Self said. “He believed in me before anybody else knew about me or of me, so if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be where I am today, him believing in me early in my career is a big reason I was able to accomplish it.”
For Self, the accomplishment also gave him a chance to focus on and remember the players and assistant coaches, particular Matt Miller, who has been an assistant with Self since Douglas.
“It really is an attribute to the players I’ve had and been able to coach,” Self said of the century mark. “I’ve also had some really good coaches alongside me, one in particular in Matt Miller who has been with me since I got into coaching here in Marshall County. Having him by my side has been a great thing.
“Really, I haven’t focused on it, but I’m very blessed to have won 100 early in my career, but it goes back to having some really good players. I really think players win games, and we had a couple 1,000 point scorers at Douglas. It goes back to being blessed with a bunch of good kids who love the game and play at a high level. It’s been a pleasure to have those, and that’s the reason I’ve won 100.”
But perhaps more than the wins and accomplishments at both schools, it’s been Self’s ability to build a team and program that is based around the players, and one that fans and former Guntersville players are proud to watch during the season and making sure that the team is a reflection of the school both on and away from the gym.
“We try to build that culture so kids want to play basketball,” Self added. “They want to be out there and put the uniform on and play for the school. We hold our program to a high standard no matter where we are. Not everybody can just come out and put a jersey on and play, you have to meet a standard on and off the court. At the end of the day, we have a culture where we let the kids play to their potential on the court, give them some freedom, play fast-paced. But it goes back to establishing a culture where kids want to play in it, and the community can be proud to watch it.”
While 100 wins is memorable for Self, most importantly for the team, that win kicked of a pair of games that saw the Wildcats find their stride offensively after some ups and downs in the first six games.
After going 3-3 in the early going, the 73 points against Columbia was followed by a 78-point outburst on Friday night against Etowah, giving the Wildcats momentum heading into this week’s area games against Fairview and Brewer.
“We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re putting spurts in the game that are really good,” Self said. “But we’ve still got to put a whole game to put together, and with area play starting this week it’s a good time to do it.”