STILLWATER — Sean Sutton has been through the toughest of times himself. The current senior assistant to the head coach for close friend Chris Beard at Texas Tech, Sutton overcame an addiction to pain medication that had led to an arrest for when he illegally obtained that medication. Sean Sutton shared the love and success of basketball with his father, but he also shared some not so great, in fact awful and painful memories from how his father’s stint ended at Kentucky, the loss of 10 people including players, support staff, a broadcaster, and two pilots in the 2001 « Remember the Ten » plane crash in Colorado. It was Sean that was the « coach in waiting » at Oklahoma State when his father’s addiction to alcohol ended his time as Cowboys basketball coach.
« I think people will see tonight someone that lived an extraordinary life but also had some obstacles he had to overcome and some of his own demons that he had to battle that really made my dad who he was, » explained his son, former point guard at Kentucky and Oklahoma State, and his longtime assistant and eventually successor as head coach at Oklahoma State Sean Sutton.
Tonight the documentary « Eddie » makes it’s debut at 8 p.m. on ESPN. Four years in the making the story of Eddie Sutton and his rise from small town Kansas to playing for the legendary Mr. Iba after being recruited by four Hall of Fame coaches in Phog Allen, Tex Winters, Ralph Miller, and Henry Iba before going on to his own Hall of Fame coaching career spells out more than wins, championships, and cutting down the nets.
As Sean Sutton mentioned the family insisted that the story of their father include all the high marks, but also the lows. Of the three sons, it was Sean that was there, side by side with his father, during the low points like Kentucky and at Oklahoma State his addiction to alcohol coming back to end his career at his alma mater in February of 2006.
« Chris Hunt, Wendy Garrett, and Chad (Walker)did a wonderful job and the amount of time that they dedicated to this project, you’re talking about a four-year period and going back and combing through all that footage and all that work, » explained Sean Sutton. « When Chris Hunt came to us with the idea we all (family) agreed that if you’re going to tell the good things then you’ve got to share some of the bad, even some of the ugly and that really made my dad who he was. »
Sean was the person to tell those chapters. Those that have seen the documentary in advance of Monday (June 29) night’s worldwide debut on ESPN say it Sean’s testimony that is the most compelling.
« I felt like since my dad couldn’t speak that I was the one that needed to tell those and be the one to kind of go back since I was right there by his side through so many of these circumstances that have happened during his career and his life, » Sean Sutton said. « Was it easy, no, it wasn’t easy to go back and relive some of the painful tragedies that occurred and some of the painful situations that came up in his life. Don’t get me wrong there were some unbelievable memories and great moments, but I think I did three different interviews with Chris and the crew and each one was three hours long. »
Be prepared when you watch it. No matter whether or not you are an Oklahoma State fan, a basketball fan, or someone that admires the human spirit and people that battle and compete. You will smile and laugh, but you will also shed a tear and even copy that frown that Eddie Sutton was so famous for in his coaching hey day.
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