In the wake of Eddie Sutton’s death, here is a look at the legendary career of Oklahoma State’s former basketball coach. Sutton, a Hall of Fame coach, recorded 806 wins during his 37 seasons, including 16 years at OSU, and earned two AP Coach of the Year awards, but that is only scratching the surface.
March 12, 1936
Edward Eugene Sutton was born to Orville and Beryl Sutton in Dodge City, Kansas. Sutton’s father was a mechanic, electrician and plumber.
Sutton joined the varsity basketball team at Oklahoma State his sophomore year. Under coach Henry Iba, freshmen weren’t allowed to play on the varsity team.
Sutton married his college sweetheart, Patsy Wright, months before he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant and coach of the freshman team at OSU.
Dec. 9, 1969
Sutton got the first win of his coaching career when his Creighton Bluejays defeated Idaho State 92-84 in the Omaha Civic Auditorium. The Bluejays had not produced a winning record in the three seasons before Sutton’s arrival; he led them to five straight winning seasons.
After five seasons with Creighton, Sutton took over as coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Two seasons later, Sutton took the team to its first of nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances and its first since 1958.
March 25, 1978
While at Arkansas, Sutton made the first NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance of his career, losing to Kentucky 64-59. In the same season, Sutton earned the AP Coach of the Year Award with a 32-4 record. A year earlier, Sutton won the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year Award.
March 20, 1989
Amid NCAA investigation for recruiting and academic infringements, Sutton Resigned as the University of Kentucky’s basketball coach. He compiled an 88-39 record at Kentucky in four seasons, including two appearances in the NCAA Tournament and one Elite Eight appearance.
Following a year off, Sutton returned to Oklahoma State to rejuvenate a program that had slumped into mediocrity following the departure of Henry Iba in 1970. Sutton coached the 1990 Cowboys to a 24-8 record, a Big Eight Conference title and a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
April 1, 1995
In his fourth season at OSU, Sutton took the Cowboys to their first NCAA Tournament Final Four appearance since 1951, where they lost to UCLA 74-61. It was the second of three teams Sutton coached to the National Semifinal.
Jan. 24, 1998
Sutton became the 20th coach to reach 600 career victories with 94-62 drubbing of Texas A&M in Stillwater.
Feb. 20, 2002
In late February 2002, Sutton became only the 14th coach in Division I history to record 700 wins with an 85-80 victory against the Texas Longhorns in the Frank Erwin Center.
April 3, 2004
Thirteen years after he took the job and nine years after his second appearance, Sutton took his third and final team to the Final Four. Sutton coached Oklahoma State to a 31-4 record, which was one victory shy of his career-high mark, but the Cowboys lost 67-65 to Georgia Tech. Sutton earned Big 12 Coach of the Year honors for his efforts.
March 24, 2005
Sutton made his final appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a 79-78 Sweet Sixteen loss to Arizona. Over his career, Sutton compiled a 39-26 record in 26 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 13 with his alma mater.
May 19, 2006
Sutton announced his retirement from the sport and Oklahoma State University after a Feb. 10 car accident and drunken driving charges. Sutton struggled with alcoholism during his Kentucky years and relapsed later in his career because of chronic back and hip pain.
Feb. 2, 2008
After coming out of retirement less than two months earlier to take over the University of San Francisco basketball program on an interim basis, Sutton coached the 800th victory of his career with an 85-82 victory against Pepperdine. Sutton was only the fifth coach to reach 800 career victories.
Nov. 20, 2011
As the first coach to lead four different college programs to the NCAA Tournament, Sutton was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
April 3, 2020
Sutton is elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after 806 career victories, three Final Four appearances and being named AP college coach of the year twice.