Edward Eugene Sutton (born March 12, 1936) is a retired American college basketball coach. He was a head coach for 36 years at the Division I level, at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State (his alma mater), and the University of San Francisco. Sutton became the first coach to take four schools to the NCAA tournament, and he reached the Final Four with Arkansas in 1978 and Oklahoma State in 1995 and 2004. He is one of only eight major college men's basketball coaches to have over 800 career wins.

Eddie Sutton
Biographical details
Born (1936-03-12) March 12, 1936 (age 83)
Bucklin, Kansas
Playing career
1955–1958Oklahoma State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1958–1959Oklahoma State (assistant)
1959–1966Tulsa Central HS
1966–1969Southern Idaho
1990–2006Oklahoma State
2007–2008San Francisco (interim HC)
Head coaching record
Overall806–326 (college)
84–14 (junior college)
Accomplishments and honors
NCAA Division I Regional – Final Four (1978, 1995, 2004)
SWC regular season (1977–1979, 1981, 1982)
SWC Tournament (1977, 1979, 1982)
SEC regular season (1986)
SEC Tournament (1986)
Big Eight regular season (1992, 1995)
Big Eight Tournament (1995)
Big 12 regular season (2004)
Big 12 Tournament (2004, 2005)
2x AP College Coach of the Year (1978, 1986)
NABC Coach of the Year (1986)
Henry Iba Award (1977)
4x SWC Coach of the Year (1975, 1977, 1979, 1981)
SEC Coach of the Year (1986)
Big Eight Coach of the Year (1993)
2x Big 12 Coach of the Year (1998, 2004)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2011


Early yearsEdit

Eddie Sutton was born in Bucklin, Kansas. He played for Oklahoma State (known as Oklahoma A&M until his senior year of 1957–1958) under legendary coach Henry Iba. While at Oklahoma A&M Sutton became a member of Sigma Chi fraternity.[citation needed]

In his college coaching career, Sutton was the head coach of Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State, and University of San Francisco. He has the rare distinction of having taken two schools (Arkansas and Oklahoma State) to the Final Four, and was the first coach to lead four schools to the NCAA tournament.[citation needed]

Sutton's college coaching career began in 1967 in Twin Falls, Idaho, where he founded the men's basketball program at the College of Southern Idaho, a community college in only its third year of existence. The 1967–68 Golden Eagles posted a 33–4 record and quickly became a consistent national contender at the community college level. Sutton left CSI in 1969 to coach at Creighton. It was with the Bluejays that he made his first coaching appearance in the NCAA tournament in 1974.[citation needed]

University of Arkansas (1974-1985)Edit

In 1974, Sutton took over an underachieving Arkansas program from Lanny Van Eman. Over the next 11 seasons, Sutton compiled a record of 260-75, including five Southwest Conference championships, nine NCAA tournament appearances, and a Final Four appearance in 1978.[citation needed]

His success allowed for the renovation of Barnhill Arena from 5,200 seats to 9,000, anchored by "The Triplets," Ron Brewer, Marvin Delph, and Sidney Moncrief, a trio of basketball players all from the state of Arkansas that helped lead the Hogs to an undefeated SWC crown in 1977 and the 1978 Final Four.

In 1984, Sutton presided over Arkansas upsetting #1 North Carolina and their star player Michael Jordan, in Pine Bluff. Sutton left Arkansas in 1985 to succeed Joe B. Hall at the University of Kentucky. Arkansas replaced Eddie Sutton with Nolan Richardson. In 2014 Sutton was inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.[1] Sutton is still beloved by Razorbacks fans, today.

University of Kentucky (1985–1989)Edit

In 1985, Sutton took the helm of one of the nation's most prestigious college basketball programs at the University of Kentucky. He coached the Wildcats for four years, leading them to the Elite Eight of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. Two seasons later, Sutton and the 25-5 Wildcats captured their 37th SEC title (which was later vacated by the SEC) and were ranked as the 6th college basketball team in the nation by the Associated Press and UPI[2][3] before losing to Villanova in the 1988 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

However Sutton's tenure at Kentucky ended at the close of the 1988–89 season after a scandal and a losing record tarnished the school's basketball program. Kentucky entered the 1988–89 season lacking significant talent in their lineup. The previous season's offensive and defensive stars Ed Davender, Rob Lock and Winston Bennett had all graduated from school; All-SEC sophomore Rex Chapman left school early to enter the 1988 NBA Draft. Additionally, sophomore standout Eric Manuel was suspected of cheating on his college entrance exam and voluntarily agreed to sit out until the investigation was finished. Potential franchise recruit Shawn Kemp transferred out of Kentucky after signing with the school early that year.[4] As it turned out, Manuel didn't play a single game as the investigation dragged through the entire season, essentially placing the Wildcats in the hands of inexperienced sophomore LeRon Ellis and freshman Chris Mills. The two underclassmen struggled to fill the talent vacuum on the court and the Wildcats finished with a losing record of 13-19, the team's first losing full-season record since 1927.[3]

The scandal broke when it was alleged that Emery Worldwide employees discovered $1,000 in cash in an envelope Kentucky assistant coach Dwane Casey supposedly sent to Mills' father.[5] It was later shown that Casey was uninvolved in the Emery envelope incident.[6]

The NCAA announced at the end of the season that its investigation into the basketball program had found the school guilty of violating numerous NCAA policies.[7] The NCAA deemed the violations so egregious that it seriously considered hitting the Wildcats with the "death penalty", which would have shut down the entire basketball program (as opposed to simply being banned from postseason play) for up to two years. Kentucky was eligible for this severe penalty because it was already on probation for failing to cooperate with an investigation into an extensive scheme of payments to recruits. By then, however, Sutton was already gone. In March, school president David Roselle told Sutton that he had lined up enough support on UK's athletics board to fire him unless he resigned. Rather than face all-but-certain termination, Sutton resigned. Athletic director Cliff Hagan resigned as well. The Wildcats were slapped with three years' probation, a two-year ban from postseason play and a ban from live television in 1989–90. Manuel was also banned from ever playing again for any NCAA member school.[8]

Oklahoma State University (1990-2006)Edit

Sutton returned to Oklahoma State in 1990, appointed with the task of restoring the honor and tradition of Cowboy basketball that had lain dormant in the years leading up to his hiring. The Cowboys had only made postseason play three times since joining the Big Eight Conference in 1957.

Given a second chance, Sutton soon went to work on reviving the Cowboys, and his coaching career. The Pokes began to turn around almost immediately with Sutton's presence, and in 1991, Oklahoma State returned to the NCAA Tournament, ending their NCAA Tournament drought that had lasted since losing 56–53 to Princeton in 1983. Sutton's Cowboys advanced all the way to the Sweet Sixteen his first two seasons as head coach. Sutton cemented the Cowboys' return to the ranks of college basketball's major powers in 1995 as the Pokes, with the leadership of 'Big Country' Bryant Reeves and Randy Rutherford, captured a share of the Big 8 Conference championship and won a bid to the 1995 NCAA Final Four in Seattle.[9]

Under his tutelage, the Cowboys reached the postseason 14 times in his 17 years in Stillwater (having declined an NIT bid in Sutton's sixth season as head coach), including 13 NCAA Tournament bids and two Final Four appearances. They also captured three regular-season conference titles and three conference tournament championships. He is the second-winningest coach in school history, behind only his mentor, Iba.[citation needed]

On January 15, 2005, the court at Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State University was officially renamed Eddie Sutton Court. He was later honored for his contributions to the game of basketball and Oklahoma State University, on February 21, 2007.

On February 10, 2006, Eddie Sutton was in a car accident in Stillwater. He was cited for driving under the influence.[10] Witnesses say that Sutton fell in the parking lot outside Gallagher-Iba Arena just before getting into his Dodge Durango.[11] He appeared slightly dazed but still got into his car and drove away. A few minutes later, he was weaving on the road, driving to the left of center. His Durango struck the back of a Suburban before swerving left, then right and off the road into a tree. Sutton was taken to the hospital; nobody was seriously injured in the accident. Sutton announced he was taking a medical leave of absence from the basketball team, citing his health problems and the accident as reasons. The games played would continue to count against his overall record, though Head Coach Designate and Sutton's son Sean would coach for the remainder of the season.[12][13]

On February 15, 2006, Sutton read a prepared statement over the phone at an OSU press conference. He admitted he had taken prescription medication and "bought a bottle" of alcohol on the night of the accident. He acknowledged his past struggles with alcohol in the late 1980s in which he went to treatment at the Betty Ford Clinic, and he said he would seek treatment once again.[13]

Sutton eventually resigned from his position as Head Coach at Oklahoma State on May 19, 2006. Son and assistant coach Sean Sutton succeeded him as head coach.[14]

University of San FranciscoEdit

On December 26, 2007, Sutton announced that he was coming out of retirement to replace Jessie Evans as head coach of the University of San Francisco's basketball team on an interim basis.[citation needed]/. After joining the program with 798 career wins, Sutton garnered his 800th win on February 2, 2008, making him the fifth NCAA Division I men's basketball coach to reach the milestone.[15] Sutton was replaced by Rex Walters as USF head coach in April 2008.

Head coaching recordEdit

Junior collegeEdit

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Southern Idaho Golden Eagles (NJCAA Region 1) (1966–1968)
1966–67 Southern Idaho 33–4 AAU
1967–68 Southern Idaho 24–6
Southern Idaho Golden Eagles (NJCAA Region 18) (1968–1969)
1968–69 Southern Idaho 27–4
Southern Idaho: 84–14 (.857)
Total: 84–14 (.857)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Creighton Bluejays (NCAA University Division / Division I independent) (1969–1974)
1969–70 Creighton 15–10
1970–71 Creighton 14–11
1971–72 Creighton 15–11
1972–73 Creighton 15–11
1973–74 Creighton 23–7 NCAA Division I Regional Third Place
Creighton: 82–50 (.621)
Arkansas Razorbacks (Southwest Conference) (1974–1985)
1974–75 Arkansas 17–9 11–3 2nd
1975–76 Arkansas 19–9 9–7 4th
1976–77 Arkansas 26–2 16–0 1st NCAA Division I Round of 32
1977–78 Arkansas 32–4 14–2 T–1st NCAA Division I Final Four
1978–79 Arkansas 25–5 13–3 T–1st NCAA Division I Elite Eight
1979–80 Arkansas 21–8 13–3 2nd NCAA Division I Round of 48
1980–81 Arkansas 24–8 13–3 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1981–82 Arkansas 23–6 12–4 1st NCAA Division I Round of 32
1982–83 Arkansas 26–4 14–2 2nd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1983–84 Arkansas 25–7 14–2 2nd NCAA Division I Round of 32
1984–85 Arkansas 22–13 10–6 2nd NCAA Division I Round of 32
Arkansas: 260–75 (.776) 139–35 (.799)
Kentucky Wildcats (Southeastern Conference) (1985–1989)
1985–86 Kentucky 32–4 17–1 1st NCAA Division I Elite Eight
1986–87 Kentucky 18–11 10–8 T–3rd NCAA Division I Round of 64
1987–88* Kentucky 27–6 13–5 1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1988–89** Kentucky 13–19 8–10 T–6th
Kentucky: 88–39 (.693) 48–24 (.667)
Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big Eight Conference) (1990–1996)
1990–91 Oklahoma State 24–8 9–4 T–1st NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1991–92 Oklahoma State 28–8 8–6 2nd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1992–93 Oklahoma State 20–9 8–6 2nd NCAA Division I Round of 32
1993–94 Oklahoma State 24–10 10–4 2nd NCAA Division I Round of 32
1994–95 Oklahoma State 27–10 10–4 2nd NCAA Division I Final Four
1995–96 Oklahoma State 17–10 7–7 4th
Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 Conference) (1996–2006)
1996–97*** Oklahoma State 19–13 7–9 6th NIT Second Round
1997–98 Oklahoma State 22–7 11–5 T–2nd NCAA Division I Round of 32
1998–99 Oklahoma State 23–11 10–6 5th NCAA Division I Round of 32
1999–00 Oklahoma State 27–7 12–4 T–3rd NCAA Division I Elite Eight
2000–01 Oklahoma State 20–10 10–6 5th NCAA Division I Round of 64
2001–02 Oklahoma State 23–9 10–6 T–3rd NCAA Division I Round of 64
2002–03 Oklahoma State 22–10 10–6 4th NCAA Division I Round of 32
2003–04 Oklahoma State 31–4 14–2 1st NCAA Division I Final Four
2004–05 Oklahoma State 26–7 11–5 3rd NCAA Division I Sweet 16
2005–06 Oklahoma State 17–16 6–10 7th NIT First Round
Oklahoma State: 368–151 (.709) 153–90 (.630)
San Francisco Dons (West Coast Conference) (2007–2008)
2007–08 San Francisco 6–13 5–9
San Francisco: 6–13 (.316) 5–9 (.357)
Total: 804–328 (.710)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

*Kentucky vacated the 1987–88 SEC regular season and tournament titles as well as its NCAA Tournament appearance after Eric Manuel was found to be academically ineligible.

**Due to sanctions from recruiting violations, Sutton and his entire staff were forced to resign following the 1988-89 season.

*** Includes wins that resulted from Texas Tech win forfeitures

Family legacyEdit

Eddie Sutton has three sons with his late wife Patsy: Sean Sutton, the former head coach of Oklahoma State University, Scott Sutton, the former head coach of Oral Roberts University, and Steve Sutton, who is a successful business man (Regent Bank) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Scott Sutton and Steve Sutton are also members of Sigma Chi fraternity, along with their father.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 29, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Scott, Jon. "Statistics for 1987-88". bigbluehistory.net: Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Page. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Scott, Jon. "Kentucky Teams of the Past". bigbluehistory.net: Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Page. Retrieved July 3, 2008.
  4. ^ Drum, Keith (November 16, 1988). "Commentary". United Press International.
  5. ^ York, Michael. "Kentucky Loves Its Basketball, but Not at Any Price", latimes.com, December 11, 1988.
  6. ^ Sterling, Kent. "Dwane Casey Didn't Do It, the Cautionary Tale of a Post Gone Wrong". March 23, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  7. ^ Rhoden, William C. (May 20, 1989). "Kentucky's Basketball Program And 2 Players Heavily Penalized". The New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
  8. ^ Kirkpatrick, Curry. "Dodging a Bullet", Sports Illustrated, May 29, 1989; accessed August 13, 2014.
  9. ^ "NCAA Tournament History". CBSSports.com. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  10. ^ "Sutton takes leave of absence; cited with DUI". ESPN. February 13, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  11. ^ Ellis, Randy (February 18, 2006). "Officers' actions questioned OSU police helped coach before crash, reports show". The Oklahoman. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  12. ^ Baldwin, Mike (February 18, 2006). "Sean Sutton speaks out". The Oklahoman. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Evans, Murray. "Sutton Admits Drinking Before Accident". Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 25, 2006.
  14. ^ "Cowboy Head Coach Eddie Sutton Announces Retirement". Oklahoma State Cowboys. May 19, 2006. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  15. ^ Profile, sports.espn.go.com; accessed August 13, 2014.

External linksEdit