The news of Eddie Sutton’s passing came to me around 11 p.m. on Saturday.
The night felt a little darker after that as my head swarmed with memories from my five years at Oklahoma State. I remembered attending games inside Gallagher-Iba Arena as a Pom girl and later as a fan, my first time getting to shake Coach Sutton’s hand as a sophomore in college, and memories of my parents taking me to OSU basketball games as a young girl.
The name Eddie Sutton is symbolic around OSU and immediately makes people smile thinking about the legacy he created at the university during his time as head coach for Men’s Basketball.
Coach Sutton always amazed me as he would be nestled at the end of the court for multiple games during the year, and he was always greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation when introduced. Even visiting fans would stand to welcome the iconic coach.
It’s funny how one can associate something so small to something so impactful. Aloe Blacc’s “The Man” would play in the arena every time because Coach Sutton truly was THE man. I’ll forever think of Coach when I hear that song.
My first memory of attending a basketball game seems more clear to me now than ever. I had to do some digging, but I learned the game I’m thinking of was Jan. 31, 2004 in Stillwater. The Cowboys were playing Texas Tech, and though my parents didn’t take me to many games, seeing as I was nine years old at the time, this Saturday was special.
The Cowboys won 70-66, and my father recalled to me that I continually covered my ears commenting on the noise because it was so loud in the arena. I was in love with Cowboy basketball immediately.
My memories of this game have faded quite a bit, but having the privilege to sit and watch Coach Sutton build a legacy on that court, a court that is now dedicated to him, will be something I forever cherish.
Fast forward 10 years, I’m a sophomore at OSU on my second year on Pom. I can’t precisely recall the game, but I do remember it was my first time having the privilege of shaking Coach Sutton’s hand on the sidelines, and the life in his eyes as he met mine is something I’ll never forget.
As a Cowboy, there are many things that shape my adoration for my school, and though Coach Sutton was before my time, he paved a path for future success to occur in Gallagher-Iba Arena, on campus, and in life.
He inspired many by changing the generation of the game as a powerful teacher of life who just happened to use a basketball. He ensured confidence, grit, resilience, and empowerment to everyone who crossed his path.
I attended the Posse Auction, which is an annual event held at Oklahoma State University, on August 11, 2018. Bryant “Big Country” Reeves, Randy Rutherford, Scott Sutton, and a few others took the stage to recall stories from their time in the basketball program, as well as sing praises for Eddie Sutton for all to hear.
It made me smile to hear stories from practices and the discipline Coach Sutton would enforce to keep his team in line, and every player who recalls their time under Coach Sutton always ends it with a respectful “Thank you” for all he has done.
At Oklahoma State University, I truly believe our loyalty is not measured by wins or losses. It’s measured by those who came before us leaving an impact and a legacy and by those who will come after us to carry out tradition and fortify what’s already been set in place.
The word “former” never made much sense to me when speaking about people who have come through Oklahoma State because once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy, and Coach Sutton is a true Cowboy for life.
Eddie Sutton will forever be remembered by those who remain loyal and true and those who will experience the Cowboy culture in the future. He will be talked about, taught about, and recognized with the highest of accolades.
His name engraved into the basketball court of Gallagher-Iba Arena will bring honor and restoration to the program and great adoration and respect from those who set foot inside as a fan, a player, or even a visitor.
In the words of the great and late Kobe Bryant: A legend never dies.
Rest in power to a Cowboy legend, a leader, a teacher, a friend, and our Hall of Famer.
Fly high, Coach Sutton. Thank you for everything, Cowboy.