Sean Sutton savors NCAA Tournament in Tulsa, opportunity to coach in front of legendary father
TULSA — There wasn’t public fanfare Friday for Eddie Sutton at the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the BOK Center.
Sitting mostly out of view, the legendary Oklahoma State coach watched as Texas Tech beat Northern Kentucky 72-57 to advance.
It was a moment his son Sean Sutton, Red Raiders coach Chris Beard’s advisor, savored every moment of.
“He’s been doing better,” Sean Sutton said of his father. “Always enjoys this time of year so I was really happy he could come to the game today and see us play.”
Eddie Sutton, 83 and confined to a wheelchair, watched the game from a mid-level spot.
Sean Sutton is hoping that in a few days, his father will get the call he’s been waiting for — news that he will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Eddie Sutton is a finalist yet again. He’s the only one of eight men’s college basketball coaches with at least 800 career wins who hasn’t yet been inducted.
Sean is eagerly awaiting the news, but it won’t affect how he looks at his father’s career or how Eddie views what he’s done in the game.
“I hope this is the year,” Sean said. “Six times he’s been a finalist and for whatever reason it hasn’t worked out, but we’ve got our fingers crossed this time and hope that’s going to work out and he’s going to get in.”
The 2019 class will be officially announced next month at the Final Four in Minneapolis, but Sean Sutton said he hoped to hear the outcome in the next week or so.
“He thinks it would be nice to be in there, but I don’t think he views it as he’s got to have it to justify his career or anything like that,” Sean Sutton said.
Beard’s Texas Tech team won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title along with Kansas State this season, ending Kansas’ 14-year streak of winning at least a share of the conference crown.
The year before that Jayhawks streak began, Sean Sutton and Glynn Cyprien were on the bench helping Eddie Sutton guide Oklahoma State to a Big 12 title en route to a Final Four run.
This year, Sean Sutton and Cyprien were again paired up to help Tech break Kansas’ stranglehold on the conference.
Cyprien, who served as an assistant under Eddie Sutton for four seasons, joined Beard’s staff this season and said Sean Sutton’s presence was a big reason why.
“We’ve got a lot of great memories,” Cyprien said. “It’s been special.”