For the first time in 20 years, Bill Self will return to the University of Illinois to coach a basketball game.
The University of Kansas men's basketball team will travel to Champaign, Illinois for a televised charity exhibition game in which all proceeds will go towards relief efforts from the Maui wildfires. The game is scheduled for Oct. 29 at 5:00 p.m. CT and will air live on Big Ten Network.
The two programs had originally scheduled a private scrimmage before the season but decided to make it a public event to raise money for the Maui Strong Fund.
"For decades, the Maui Invitational and the city of Lahaina have been very important to college basketball, and our thoughts and prayers go to that entire community as they recover from such a tragic event," Self said in a statement. "[Illinois head coach Brad Underwood] and I discussed how our private scrimmage could become an exhibition game to raise money to benefit the so many affected by the recent catastrophic fires in Maui. We both felt this would be a great way for our programs to create awareness to help this cause."
Both schools have participated in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, an annual NCAA Thanksgiving basketball tournament, in recent years. The Jayhawks are scheduled for the tournament this upcoming season, though officials have said the plans for the event are uncertain.
115 people are confirmed dead from the wildfires, and officials say an estimated 1,000 more could be missing, according to NBC News.
"It is heartbreaking to see the loss of life and devastation from the fires that have ravaged Lahaina," Underwood said in a statement. "The Maui Invitational is an integral part of college basketball, and we are thinking of everyone on the island of Maui who have felt the impact of this tragedy. Bill and I talked immediately about how we could come together to help, and turning our closed scrimmage into a charity exhibition is a way we can use our sport to make an impact.
"The spotlight of this game, heightened by Bill's return to Champaign, should raise meaningful dollars that will go directly to help the community of Lahaina."
Self was the head coach at Illinois for three seasons before leaving the program for Kansas in 2003.
At Illinois, Self went 78-24 overall with a Big Ten conference record of 35-13. He led the Fighting Illini to two Big Ten regular-season conference championships, a Big Ten Tournament title and three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, where his teams made it to the Elite Eight (2001) and Sweet Sixteen (2002).
Hall-of-Fame head coach Roy Williams started a domino effect in 2003 when he left Kansas for the University of North Carolina. The Jayhawks immediately hired Self as his successor. Illinois hired Bruce Weber to replace Self soon after.
Self recruited all but three players on the Illinois team that made it to the NCAA National Championship game in 2005, including all five starters – Deron Williams, Luther Head, Dee Brown, James Augustine and Roger Powell Jr.
In 20 seasons as head coach at Kansas, Self's record is 580-132. He has led the Jayhawks to 17 regular-season conference titles, nine Big 12 Tournament titles, and two NCAA National Championship titles (2008, 2022). Kansas teams have finished in the AP top 25 in all 20 seasons under Self, with 14 top-10 finishes, 11 top-five finishes and three first-overall-ranked finishes. Self was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.
The Jayhawks enter this season as the No. 1-ranked college basketball team in ESPN's "way-too-early Top 25."
Last season, the Fighting Illini finished 20-13 overall and 11-9 in Big Ten conference play. They were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by the University of Arkansas.