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Jeff Eisenberg

The sad story of ex-Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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This is how Sean Sutton described his lifestyle in Jan. 2009, eight months after he was forced to resign from his job as Oklahoma State head coach after two tumultuous seasons that ended in the NIT.

"I've really enjoyed the time that I've been spending with my boys and my family," Sutton told the Tulsa World. "After doing it for 16 years – the grind and stress that comes with coaching – it's been fun just to sit back in the last few months and watch games on TV."

What a tragic turn of events then that a man who had lost 30 pounds, was eating healthier and was enjoying a more relaxed pace somehow became the disheveled face in those mug shots you see here, courtesy of The Oklahoman.

Sutton, 41, is reportedly in jail and suffering from withdrawal symptoms from pain medication on Friday morning after being arrested on a drug complaint the previous evening in Stillwater. Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics spokesman Mark Woodward told The Oklahoman that Sutton admitted that he is addicted to painkillers.

The OBN detained Sutton about 5 p.m. on Thursday when he attempted to pick up a shipment of painkillers authorities had previously intercepted. Payne County District Attorney Robert Hudson told the Oklahoman he is going to file four felony counts against Sutton for the painkillers he illegally obtained and for using a cell phone to commit a felony.

Drug agents have been in touch with Sutton since August 2009, when agents received a tip that that Sutton was visiting multiple state doctors to illegally obtain painkillers.

After being confronted by OBN agents in August, Sutton apparently entered a rehabilitation program for his painkiller addiction, Woodward said. No charges were filed at the time.

Sutton stayed in touch with drug agents for a while after finishing rehab, but they learned last month that he was receiving weekly shipments of painkillers from out of state, Woodward told the Oklahoman.

The shipment OBN agents intercepted yesterday contained about 40 pills. Woodward said shipping company officials indicated Sutton has been picking up similar shipments weekly for the past year.

The pills included Adderall, Clonazapan, another generic painkiller and a fourth unidentified pill. Agents interviewed Sutton for about six hours before arresting him and taking him to jail, Woodward said.

Sutton's arrest is the latest chapter in his family's public battle with addiction. The younger Sutton replaced father Eddie Sutton, at Oklahoma State in 2006 after the coaching legend was charged with aggravated driving under the influence, speeding and driving on the wrong side of the road after a car accident en route to the airport.

Although Sean Sutton had not found his way back into coaching after going 49-39 in two seasons at Oklahoma State, all signs were that he was doing well. On Monday night in Austin, ESPN's Andy Katz had this to say after running into Eddie and Sean Sutton at the Texas-Kansas game:

I'm not sure I've seen Eddie or Sean Sutton look as well rested and relaxed as I did Monday night in Austin. The two Suttons were at ease mingling through the media room after the Kansas-Texas game. Eddie had a deep tan but was still formal in a sport coat and tie. Sean looked quite dapper in comfortable, stylish clothing.

Apparently, looks can be deceiving.

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