They say you can't repeat history, or go back in time. I'm not asking for either. It is a new day and time in Oklahoma State basketball but a blast from the past might be able to help move successfully into the future. Then again, maybe this is a crazy idea to even think of Sean Sutton back on the bench in Gallagher-Iba Arena again.
Dr. William Wilson, the current President of Oral Roberts University, I have to believe is a God-fearing and fine Christian man. His bio for Oral Roberts University certainly presents him that way. I think over the last couple of weeks it has also been proven he is short-sided and doesn't get the total purpose of the college experience, even at a strong church and Christian affiliated institution. I'll explain that in one of the succeeding paragraphs. Oklahoma State is not a church affiliated school, it is state affiliated, but I enjoy watching those branding messages with OSU President Burns Hargis at the end talking about not about being a Cowboy or America's brightest orange, but the newest version where Hargus ends the spot saying, "Oklahoma State serving our students, the state, and the World for 125-years." I hear my friend and OSU Vice-President Kyle Wray talking about the land grant mission of Oklahoma State of service to others. I fully believe that extends to athletics where I've seen coaches and student-athletes alike involved in mentoring, public service, and I especially love the work done with youngsters battling cancer and other life threatening conditions through Coaches Vs. Cancer. So, why wouldn't hiring a former head coach from Oklahoma State back to the school where he could help and also push a greater cause in overcoming one of the most serious addictions in our state and the nation. I'll get back to that too.
I always felt that college was a place where young people desiring an education could got to fulfill that desire and to also grow up and find out who they are and what they are going to stand for. If Oral Roberts only invites devout Christians, young people already full of the love of God and Jesus Christ in their doors then they are missing the opportunity to further spread the word and beliefs. I am by no means a BIble historian, but I've read the Good Book and I swear in several places the responsibility of spreading God's word is mentioned prominently. What better place than on a college campus where the faith is encouraged and through athletics, which draws a wide range of people.
Instead at ORU, it sure sounds like Dr. Wilson was insisting that his head basketball coach Scott Sutton and his staff; which included Scott's older brother and former Oklahoma State player, assistant coach, and head coach Sean Sutton; recruit players only professed Christians, not just believers, but players that taught Bible school, Sunday school, FCA leaders or leaders of other church affiliated groups. Through in the request for no players with body ink (tattoos) and Dr. Wilson's prerequisites sure sound limiting and almost anti-biblical to me. On top of the recruiting requests, the President also asked Scott to relieve Sean of his duties and that could save his job. Wow! It struck me that I also read in the Bible something about forgiveness. I very positive that was in there, especially for people that believe in God and Jesus and profess that faith. Back to the college experience, what better person for student-athletes and students in general to learn from than from somebody that has made the mistake, corrected it, and now witnesses and assists others in doing the same. To me that is anything but a liability. On a college campus that is a home run educator and example.
Here is where the unthinkable comes in, I know you thought it was the actions of Dr. Wilson and that is a good thought. My unthinkable comes in new Oklahoma State basketball head coach Mike Boynton considering hiring Sean Sutton for his final assistant coach. I know, I just wrote a mouthful there. Sean's fall from grace came in Stillwater. It is where he became addicted to prescription painkillers, where he was arrested, but it could also be where he returns to help Oklahoma State and it's mission on and off the basketball court.
Mike Boynton is tough, Brooklyn tough, but I'm afraid he is not yet Big 12 tough. He was hired, a rookie head coach, and now his job is to out recruit, out coach, and defeat programs with excellent talent and head coaches named Self, Huggins, Dixon, Kruger, Drew, Prohm, and others. I like his hire of Lamont Evans, excellent recruiter and good experience. He will be a loyal lieutenant for Boynton. John Cooper was added to the staff and brings eight-years of head coaching experience and a diamond transfer in MAC Freshman of the Year from last season in Michael Weathers. To be frank, Cooper had one winning season in eight-years as a head coach at Tennessee State (three) and Miami of Ohio (five). Neither the MAC or the Ohio Valley quite like coaching through the double round robin of the Big 12.
A source told me that Lamont Evans is acquainted with Sean Sutton. I'm not sure if Boynton is, their paths don't seem to have crossed. I'm not sure Sean Sutton would be interested. My sources again inform me that Scott Sutton, another good choice by the way is likely going to sit out of coaching a year and take his buyout in full from Dr. Wilson and ORU. I would, it is the least the school can do for their all-time winningest coach that has been loyal to the T. Sean, though, will be looking for a job. I don't know how Sean's return would be thought of within the administration. I told you, my premise her is quite possibly unthinkable.
Sean was fired at Oklahoma State for among others things, back to back seventh place finishes in the Big 12. He did take the Cowboys to NIT appearances both seasons. He also finished his two seasons with a winning record of 39-29, 13-19 in the Big 12. I'm convinced all was not right with Sean then and it is now. I am convinced of that.
It would take extreme confidence on Boynton's part to consider this hire. I think the new coach has that. He has a way he wants his team to play and it sound a lot like the way Sean Sutton coached his teams to play and the way his dad's teams were coached when Sean was a player and an assistant coach. Just about five months from turning 49, Sean Sutton does not have a record. His conviction was dismissed and his records expunged after he met the requirements of his probation. He has coached against the likes of Self, Huggins, Kruger, and Drew. He knows the entrance that visiting teams use to enter every visiting Big 12 basketball venue. His experience with basketball would be advantageous. He can recruit, but that doesn't have to be his main task.
Boynton says his practices will be hard, much like those of his former boss, Brad Underwood. His tone and language will be different. I am a firm believer that the voices of a coaching staff must be unified, however, they don't all have to sound the same in level and language. I would guess Sean Sutton might bring a tad different delivery. He certainly has walked a different path, but it is one that I believe is just as valuable in leading young people as those that have always walked the straight and narrow. I guess my question here would be, can the path of a Sutton lead back to Stillwater again?