"It may be hard for some of you to believe, but I have looked forward to the opportunity to address the media for some time. I certainly do not take any pleasure in what has brought us together today. In fact, I regret more than any of you will ever know what happened earlier this year," Sutton said in a news conference Friday morning at the Stillwater Community Center before entering his guilty plea later in afternoon.
"I am embarrassed. My irresponsible action caused a lot of pain for a number of people. It is only by the grace of God and the unwavering love of my wife, sons, parents, brothers and many other family members and friends across the country that I can stand before you today at peace with the past and looking forward to the future," he continued.
Terms of the three-year deferred sentence, approved by Associate Payne Country District Judge Stephen Kistler, direct Sutton to report to the Payne County District Attorney's office for three years, continue to receive drug treatment, perform 100 hours of community service, pay a $2,500 fine and court costs, and, if necessary, testify against the two women who allegedly provided him the drugs when he was arrested on Feb. 11.
"I do not blame anybody. This was my mistake," said Sutton, who compiled a 39-29 record as head coach of the Cowboys from 2006-08.
"I am now at peace with my past and I am committed to live in the present and look forward to building a bright future with my wonderful family and many wonderful friends," added Sutton, whose wife, Trena, was by his side at both the news conference and during the Friday afternoon court hearing.
"I want to thank my beautiful wife, Trena, for the love, support, and strength she has displayed during these trying times. There is no better wife in the world," Sutton said. "She does not deserve what she has endured. I have caused her much pain. She has been there with me and for me. My love for her is uncompromised. She is my rock and my angel. I am thankful and grateful to have her as my partner and my best friend. Trena, I love you, and I am proud of you. I will forever be by your side."
OSU President Burns Hargis issued a statement Friday that stated, "We commend Sean on the steps he is taking to move forward. All of us at OSU wish him and his family all the best."
Sutton said that he spent 115 days at Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah, a drug treatment facility, as part of his recovery. "I have seen no one, and I repeat no one worker harder in the treatment than Sean Sutton," said Gary Fisher, director of Cirque Lodge, as he addressed the media following Sean Sutton remarks on Friday.
Sutton said, "For 115 days, I willingly subjected myself to a demanding and rigorous drug recovery and rehabilitation program at what is without question the finest facility of its kind – Cirque Lodge in Sundance, Utah. Even though the setting was beautiful, this was no vacation. The program was intense, and it was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. The people were tremendous, and they have created a place of peace, hope and recovery. I entered Cirque Lodge a broken man, recognizing I could lose everything I treasured in life."
The former Oklahoma State player and coach was charged in Payne County District Court in February with obtaining a controlled dangerous substance (oxycodone) by fraud from multiple doctors at multiple pharmacies; possession of oxycodone without a prescription; attempted possession of controlled dangerous substances (Adderall and Clonazepam); and use of a communication device to commit a felony.
Each of the charges is a felony that is punishable by up to five or 10 years in prison.
"I must say, however, I caused a lot of pain, and I owe the people of Oklahoma, especially the youth, an apology for being a poor example. I also want to apologize to the sport of college basketball for the negative publicity this has brought to the game. Again, I am deeply, deeply sorry. I know I have a lot to prove to regain your confidence and restore your faith in me. I am ready, and with God's help and the support of family and friends, I believe I can earn your trust again," Sutton said.
"My heart was warmed by the overwhelming support I received from fellow coaches across the country. The letters, the prayers, and the words of encouragement lifted my spirit and fueled my recovery. Your expressions of kindness turned hopelessness into hope. To the many Oklahoma State fans who called and wrote, thank you very much. It meant a lot to me and my family. OSU will always have a special place in my heart.
"I would love to coach again at some point. I don't know when, but I do know, as tough as this
experience has been for me, I have emerged a better person – stronger, yet humbled – and I am confident I will be a better coach if and when an appropriate opportunity arises," he added.