Eddie Sutton Talks Of Being Honored

STILLWATER – Eddie Sutton, the fifth winningest coach in Division I basketball history, was honored during halftime of Oklahoma State's game against Texas A&M on Wednesday night on the court that bears his name. The longtime coach met with members of the media prior to the game. Here are some excerpts of what Sutton had to say.

On what the halftime festivities will mean to him: "I'm really honored that the university would see fit to do this. It will probably be pretty emotional. It will probably bring back a lot of pleasant memories, but it will be tough too. I'm really happy that I can take my family out there on the floor and try to express my appreciation for what we were able to do here."

On how his success at OSU surprised Mr. Iba: "When I first came back Mr. Iba was really thrilled that one of his boys had come back. But he told me, in a very sincere way, he always called me Ed. He said, ‘I don't know if you can pull this off or not. I know you're a good coach but this is a tough place to recruit and a tough place to coach.' I think we surprised him completely that first year. We had, in my opinion, those first two years we had as good of team as we ever had here. We didn't make it to the Final Four, but I believe they could play with any of the teams that did play here."

On building the program back, and seeing the Cowboy fans embrace the program: "The thing that I think amazed Mr. Iba is once we started winning how all the OSU alumni, and the fans who watched basketball while I was playing and through the years, really came back. It's always a great thrill in building a program. That's what we were able to do at Arkansas. This is a very similar situation. That was rewarding to me the way fans came back here, and the way basketball really caught on. At Arkansas I got a thrill out of getting that program off and running, but when it's your school it's more meaningful I think."

On giving back to OSU the last 16 years: "I owe a lot to this school. I would have never been able to go to college without a scholarship. Mr. Iba was kind enough to give me a scholarship, and I got me a good education, and found my bride, and we'll be married 49 years next June 1. I feel like I have given something back to Oklahoma State for what they gave me."

On missing coaching and the interaction with the players: I was visiting with Bob Knight (when he was in town with his Texas Tech team) and I told him I feel like I'm doing some worthwhile things. I miss basketball, don't get me wrong. I don't miss the games. I miss teaching and the day-to-day fellowship that you and your assistants have, and watching your players grow and mature as both basketball players and people. I said, ‘Wait until Pat (Knight) starts coaching, you'll find how hard it is to sit in the stands.' He said, ‘No I won't because I'm not going to go to the games.' Believe me, I've been tempted not to go to a few."

On being one of 15 finalist for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: "It's an honor just to be nominated because there are a lot of coaches who don't get nominated. To get into the Hall of Fame is very difficult now for college coaches. In the last 25 years very few have gotten in, and the ones who have gotten in are deserving. But there's only one west of the Mississippi River and that's Lute (Olson). The ones they have taken are for the most part from the east."

Does he think he'll get the required 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election: "I'm not that optimistic because I looked at who's been nominated. They usually take four or five or six people. I think the Texas Western team will go in. I think two pro players will go in. Roy (Williams) will. (Phil) Jackson will. The voice (Dick Vitale) may even get in this time. I'm thrilled that I was nominated again. We'll just have to wait and see."

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