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Hall of Fame coach Eddie Sutton dies at 84

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Longtime college basketball coach and recent 2020 Hall of Fame inductee Eddie Sutton died on Saturday, according to multiple media reports.

He was 84, and was in hospice care in Tulsa, Oklahoma, according to the according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In a statement to the Tulsa World, Sutton’s family confirmed the death, saying:

“Our beloved Dad and Papa coach Eddie Sutton passed away peacefully of natural causes the evening of May 23rd at his home in south Tulsa. He was surrounded by his 3 sons and their families, which include his nine adoring grandchildren. He is reunited with his No. 1 assistant — his bride Patsy Sutton — who passed away in January 2013 after 54 years of marriage.

“Dad and Mom treated their players like family and always shared the belief that his teachings went beyond the basketball court. He cherished the time he spent at every school and appreciated the support from their loyal fans. He believed they deserved so much credit in the success of his programs.

“He felt his recent Hall of Fame [induction] was an honor and a tribute to the great players he coached and outstanding assistant coaches that worked for him.”

Longtime college basketball coach and Hall of Famer Eddie Sutton died on Saturday at 84.
Longtime college basketball coach and Hall of Famer Eddie Sutton died on Saturday at 84. (Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)

Sutton spent nearly 40 years coaching college basketball, compiling an impressive 806-329 record. He is one of 12 coaches in men’s D-I college basketball to eclipse the 800-wins mark, joining Bob Huggins, Roy Williams, Bob Knight, Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski, among others.

Sutton spent his first five seasons at Creighton before taking the Arkansas job in 1974. While with the Razorbacks, Sutton led the team to five regular-season Southwest Conference titles and reached the NCAA tournament nine times, including an Elite Eight run and a Final Four appearance in 1978.

“This state is always going to be indebted to coach Sutton because he put Arkansas on the map basketball-wise,” Little Rock coach and former Razorbacks guard Darrell Walker said, via the Democrat-Gazette.

Sutton also spent four seasons at Kentucky, leaving amid an NCAA investigation into the program and its recruiting practices. He went to Oklahoma State, his alma mater, in 1990. While with the Cowboys, Sutton won two regular-season conference titles and reached the Final Four twice more, once in 1995 and again in 2004. The school later named the court at Gallagher-Iba Arena after him.

He wrapped up his career as the interim coach for one season at San Francisco in 2008.

In total, Sutton made 25 NCAA tournament appearances, had nine regular-season conference titles, eight conference tournament titles and three Final Four appearances in his 37-year career. He was the Associated Press’ Coach of the Year twice, earned conference Coach of the Year honors eight times and was the first coach to lead four schools to the NCAA tournament.

Sutton was inducted into the Naismith memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April, part of a stacked class that included Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tamika Catchings and Kim Mulkey.

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