Oklahoma State basketball coach Mike Boynton faced a crucial moment in his brief stint so far with the Cowboy basketball program.
OSU needed an injection of good news in the worst way, a positive vibe heading into the 2017-18 season.
On Sunday, Boynton knocked it out of the park.
Boynton hired former Cowboy and ex-Oral Roberts University head coach Scott Sutton to his staff, filling the void left by Lamont Evans’ recent firing and patching a chasm of bad publicity with a familiar name, a talented coach and a man of integrity.
“I’m thrilled to have a man of Scott Sutton’s pedigree joining our coaching staff,” Boynton said in an OSU press release. “The Sutton name certainly means a great deal to our program and the Oklahoma State family, but it’s just as respected nationally. Scott’s name is all over the program’s record books from his playing days, and he’s proved himself in the coaching arena as well. I’m excited to welcome Scott and his family back to Stillwater to help us continue this program’s march to excellence.”
Sutton coached 18 seasons at ORU and won 328 games, including eight postseason trips and three NCAA Tournament appearances. At ORU, he was Summit League Coach of the Year three times.
Sutton played in 63 games for the Cowboys from 1992-94 under his famous father, Eddie Sutton.
“I’m beyond excited to join coach Boynton’s coaching staff at Oklahoma State,” Sutton said in the release. “OSU is a special place for my family, and we are thrilled to come home to Stillwater. I look forward to helping coach Boynton and the Cowboys continue to have great success.”
With an FBI and federal grand jury investigation looming over the upcoming season, hiring Sutton was a no-brainer for OSU’s first-time head coach. Boynton was hired after one season as an OSU assistant under Brad Underwood. Underwood left for Illinois immediately after last year’s first-round NCAA Tournament loss.
After graduating from OSU, Sutton joined Bill Self’s ORU staff as an administrative assistant in 1995. He was quickly promoted to assistant coach, where he helped Self and Barry Hinson win 57 games during the next three seasons. He was promoted to head coach after the 1998-99 season following a national search.
As head coach, Sutton’s wins at ORU included victories over Arkansas, Kansas, Georgetown, Missouri, Nebraska, Stanford, and even his alma mater.
His biggest victory came in November 2006, a 78-71 win in Allen Fieldhouse against the No. 3-ranked Jayhawks. ORU won both the Summit League regular season and tournament titles that year and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. ORU’s 2006-07 and 2007-08 teams’ NCAA trips the marked the first time in ORU history the Golden Eagles played in consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
ORU had 14 consecutive winning seasons under Sutton, including seven 20-win seasons.
Sutton, by far the winningest coach in ORU history, was fired last April by ORU president Billy Wilson, a decision that most Golden Eagle fans and former ORU players did not support.
Sutton was replaced at ORU by former Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills.
As an Oklahoma State player, Sutton still holds the single season and career records for assist-to-turnover ratio. As a senior, he had 119 assists and just 21 turnovers, a ratio of 5.67-to-1. During his career, Sutton had 181 assists and just 49 turnovers, a ratio of 3.69.
Sutton is the all-time leader in Summit League conference victories with 173, and his 66.5 win percentage in Summit League games rank third all time.
Sutton and his wife, Kim, are the parents of three daughters: Hallie, Lauren and Maggie.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.