KU fan shares story of dad’s unusual letter of intent and Bill Self’s response

Nathan Carter was working in an office eight years ago when he was pulled away from the job to meet a visitor.

It was someone making their first trip to the workplace.

“The front office called and said my dad was there, which was strange because my dad had never visited me at work,” Carter recalled in an email to The Star.

“From my cubicle I was able to stand and see the front door, and my dad was grinning in the lobby, frantically waving me over with a huge smile on his face.”

Carter’s father was holding a letter that he wanted his son to see as soon as possible. Hence, the trip to the office. Kansas men’s basketball coach Bill Self had penned the note in response to a one-of-a-kind prenuptial agreement.

Neither spouse had the contract drawn up. Rather it was Carter’s dad, Chris, a lifelong Kansas Jayhawks fan. You see, Chris Carter’s daughter, Maggie, attended East Carolina University and met her future husband Joshua Lister in the Tar Heel state.

“She married a man ... whose whole family is from North Carolina,” Nathan Carter wrote in a Reddit post. “Both my sister and brother-in-law are tall people. As a joke, at their rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding, my father revealed a contract he had prepared that pre-committed any future basketball-gifted children to play at the University of Kansas.

“The contract specifically stated that no future son or daughter was allowed to commit to Duke or North Carolina. My father made all parties involved sign the contract.”

I dubbed that document a prenup, but you could consider it a letter of intent, too.

After getting everyone’s John Hancock, Chris Carter sent the document to Sheahon Zenger, who was KU’s athletic director at the time, jokingly asking the Jayhawks to keep it on file.

“Someone in the office apparently forwarded the letter to Bill Self, and to my father’s surprise he received a response letter via certified mail from Self’s office in Allen Fieldhouse,” Nathan Carter wrote on Reddit.

Self addressed the letter to the newlyweds.

Dear Josh and Maggie,

Congratulations on your marriage! I hope you enjoy all the adventures you experience together in the future. Maggie, I think your dad is pretty clever to have you and your future-husband sign contracts to prevent all the family feuds that could happen in about 20 years. He seems like a pretty smart guy, you might need to take his advice. Enjoy your special day!

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!


Bill Self

“My sister loved it. I believe she still has the original letter,” Nathan Carter wrote in a message to The Star. “My brother-in-law thought it was funny, and it won him over to KU fandom a little bit.”

Reddit users got a kick out of the story, too, as Nathan Carter’s post had more than 1,500 upvotes.

At the time, Chris Carter insisted no one reveal the story until he died or Self retired. Unfortunately, Carter passed away on March 6 at the age of 68. The family encouraged visitors to wear Kansas Jayhawks T-shirts and jackets to the funeral, which speaks to his love of KU.

Nathan shared the tale on the social-media channel this week. Chris Carter may be gone, but his sense of humor will never be forgotten.

“RIP Dad,” Nathan Carter wrote, “and thank you Coach Self for this amusing family memory.”