A legend of the game of basketball is gone, as hall of fame coach Eddie Sutton died of natural causes Saturday, May 23rd at the age of 84.
After playing collegiately at Oklahoma State from 1955 to 1958, he immediately joined the Cowboys’ coaching staff as an assistant.
After one season in Stillwater, he became the head coach at Tulsa Central High School until 1966, where he then made the jump to the junior college ranks at Southern Idaho.
In his three years with Southern Idaho, he took a brand new basketball program to a ridiculous 84-14 record – making them a legitimate contender.
Sutton then headed to Omaha to became the head coach of Creighton, beginning a 36-year run in Division 1 basketball.
In his fifth year with the Bluejays, he made his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a 23-7 record.
In 1974, Sutton then took over the helm with the Arkansas Razorbacks, where he would compile a fantastic 260-75 record over 11 seasons in Fayetteville.
He would reach his first of three career Final Four’s in 1978, being named the AP College Coach of the Year along the way.
He was also named the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year four times in his tenure with Arkansas in 1975, 1977, 1979, and 1981.
After making the NCAA Tournament nine times in his eleven seasons with the Razorbacks, Sutton would then take his talents to Lexington to become the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats.
It was there that he would snag his second AP College Coach of the Year award in 1986.
After a tumultuous departure in 1989, Sutton would take a year off from coaching before taking over at his alma mater Oklahoma State in 1990.
Oklahoma State was a program that was struggling at the time of Sutton’s arrival, and it essentially turned around on a dime with the legendary coach running the show.
Under Sutton, the Cowboys made the NCAA Tournament 13 times in his 17 years claiming three conference regular season titles and three conference tournament titles – while being named the Big Eight/Big 12 Coach of the Year three times as well.
The Cowboys would make the Final Four in 1995 and 2004 under Sutton, and the court at Gallagher-Iba Arena was named after him in his honor in January of 2005.
The 368 wins he amassed in his tenure are the second most in Oklahoma State’s history.
After resigning as head coach at the end of the 2005-2006 season, Sutton would finish his coaching career with a brief two-season stint coaching at the University of San Francisco after taking over as the interim head coach in December 2007.
His 806 career wins are the ninth most in D-1 basketball history, earning him induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 – and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Simply put, he was one of the greatest to ever do it, and his impact on Oklahoma State is unquestionable.
R.I.P. to the truly legendary Coach Eddie Sutton.