Suttons To Play Musical Chairs In The Future

STILLWATER -- What has been reported for almost two months now, that when Oklahoma State head basketball coach Eddie Sutton decides to retire that his son and associate head coach Sean Sutton will sit in his chair as head coach of the Cowboys, was made official by Oklahoma State athletic director Dr. Harry Birdwell in a press conference this afternoon in the Varsity Room of Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The 68-year-old Cowboy head coach gave no timetable for his departure, but Birdwell said he will ask the OSU Board of Regents at their June 18th meeting to approve a new title for Sean Sutton of head coach designate.

Sean Sutton has been with his father since he took over the Oklahoma State with the exception of one year when he served as an assistant coach for former OSU assistant Rob Evans at Ole Miss. Sutton first came with his father as a point guard having sat out a year after leaving Kentucky. He rejoined his dad and played for him two years at OSU. He later came back as an assistant coach and in his 11 years teaming up with his father they have led the Cowboys to a 253-103 record with nine NCAA Tournament appearances, an Elite Eight in 2000, and two Final Fours in 1995 and 2004.

Eddie Sutton said his son is extremely qualified to take over the program, and admitted he thought that Sean had done more coaching than he had over the last four seasons since being named associate head coach. The future hall of fame coach added that he has had trouble watching his sons play from the stands and more recently has found it difficult watching his youngest son, Scott, coach at Oral Roberts from up in the stands.

"I won't be telling him what to do unless he asks," said the elder Sutton. "He can coach as well as I can. I have no concern about him being successful. The hardest thing for me, it always has been, is watching my sons play. That's hard, and even harder has been going to watch Scott coach. That's hard, you have no control over the situation. I may stay home and watch it on television. You can turn the TV off, if you're at the game you can't. I've had that experience of watching Scott coach from the stands and it's tough."

Sean Sutton told the media and crowd gathered that he is no hurry to usher his father out, and most of all, wants to help coach the Cowboys to a National Championship under his father. He said he wanted that for his father and for his mother, who he added has been a major part of all the success. Sutton added that he wants his father around after he retires and doesn't mind him up in the stands looking down, much like Mr. Iba, the legendary Oklahoma State coach, looked down on his dad coaching when he came back to OSU.

"It will give him a chance to evaluate our team and certain players," said the younger Sutton. "If there's something he sees that we don't see then that's to our advantage. That is one of the things, I want him to feel welcome, like Mr. Iba came by practice. I want him to come by practice anytime he wants to come. It's a matter of how much he wants to be a part of that, but he'll have an open door. I know my Mom wants to travel and get away, but you can't stay away all the time."

Both father and son said the timing of the announcement was tied to recruiting. Oklahoma State is working on a instrumental recruiting class for next year that could include as many as seven new players. Opposing coaches have used Eddie Sutton's age and the uncertainty of what will happen when he retires against the Cowboys in recruiting. The uncertainty has been erased and the future musical chairs is on with the winner determined.

Birdwell was aware of the recruiting problems and took this year to examine candidates before deciding on the younger Sutton.

"I think in the great season we had this year it was more evident than ever before in how Sean was showcased and how he interacted with the team and helped establish team chemistry what a major role he plays in the program's success," Birdwell said. "I evaluated and talked to a lot of coaches and their agents. I talked to friends of coaches and people in the business. It was an informal process but one that lasted a year. I feel very good about my decision."

Again, the music is still playing and only Eddie Sutton know when it will stop. When it does, he won't be sitting down, but instead heading into retirement. Sean Sutton says he knows the chair will have a hot seat, but he is eager to sit in it.

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