Several years before Eddie Sutton’s career at Oklahoma State ended in a booze-stankin’ resignation and handover to his son Sean, something terrible happened to him. It’s hard to say, with any degree of certainty, what it actually was. But the formerly vital-looking — if obviously hard-living — man seemingly lost all the collagen from his body and physically crumpled sometime during his late 60s, and spent the rest of his OSU career looking like a wrinkly plastic bag filled with whiskey.
Sutton kept coaching, and his team kept winning for awhile, but he himself simply went slack, and hung wrinkly inside his suits on the sideline like something that had been improperly stored. It was almost merciful when the obviously rather-undone Sutton finally stepped down after the 2006 season in the wake of a crash and DUI arrest so egregious that it had even Bob “Don’t Do This To Me” Huggins shaking his head. During his spare time, Sutton crafted an exclusive CSTB podcast, did some hunting and fishing and…holy shit, really? The University of San Francisco? Okay, if you say so, Janie McCauley of the Associated Press:
Sutton is coming out of retirement to replace Jessie Evans as San Francisco’s basketball coach and will have his shot at 800 victories after all. USF announced Wednesday night that Evans was taking “a leave of absence” for the rest of the season and that the 71-year-old Sutton would lead the Dons (4-8) on an interim basis.
Sutton’s first chance for win No. 799 will be Friday night at Weber State.
“It’s very important,” Sutton said of winning 800 games. “I had a chance earlier this year to take a Division I job and didn’t think I wanted to do it. From a selfish standpoint, it is something I’m excited about.
…(USF AD Debra) Gore-Mann said she or someone from her staff would be traveling with the team regularly in the near future to “lend my support to the student-athletes and to assist interim coach Sutton in any way I can.”
Sutton retired as Oklahoma State’s coach after the 2005-06 season. He has 798 victories in 36 seasons as a Division I coach at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.
When his victories at Tulsa Central High School and the College of Southern Idaho are included, Sutton won exactly 1,000 games before retiring from coaching in May 2006.
His retirement came about three months after a drunken driving accident caused him to miss the Cowboys’ final 10 games of the 2005-06 season. Sutton pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated drunken driving and two other charges following the February 2006 car accident.
“I’ve thought about that and I would say it probably does (enter into this decision). I certainly didn’t want to end my coaching career the way it ended here,” Sutton said, speaking from an athletic office at Oklahoma State.
He called his drinking problems a “thing of the past.”