Eddie Sutton: 'I would have crawled all the way to Lexington' and other memorable quotes
Eddie Sutton, who won 806 games en route to a hall-of-fame career, died Saturday in Tulsa at age 84.
There were stops at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and ever-so-briefly, San Francisco.
There were also a collection of great quotes along the way. Here are some of them:
Quotes by Sutton
On his introduction as head coach at Kentucky on April 2, 1985: “It’s the only job I’d leave the University of Arkansas for. When (Kentucky President Otis Singletary) called me, believe me, I would have crawled all the way to Lexington. Fortunately, I was already here for the Final Four.”
On his year away from basketball before being introduced as OSU coach on April 11, 1990: "It gave me some new insight into the way game is moving. I think it would be wonderful if a coach could take a sabbatical about this stage in life and get his batteries recharged... It was a real plus.
On facing Arkansas as OSU coach during the 2003-04 season: “You always want to win, but I wouldn’t say I take extra satisfaction in beating Arkansas. I know how painful it is to the fans of Arkansas when they lose a game, and some of those fans are good friends of mine.”
On the Cowboys' win against St. Joseph's to reach the 2004 Final Four (his third and final trip to the Final Four): "I probably won't have too many more opportunities to get there. I won't be coaching forever."
On retiring as OSU coach after the 2005-06 season: "I was going to coach two games and win 800, but I thought that was wrong if I retired after those two games, because of the pressure it put on (son) Sean. I know this is the right decision."
On the 10-year anniversary of the 2001 plane crash that killed eight members of the OSU program and two pilots: “I’ve had some tough experiences in my life, but that was the toughest thing, when I got a call and was told that plane had gone down, and everybody was gone. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about every one of those guys, because they were all great people.”
Quotes about Sutton
Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder in 2016: “He spoiled us. You just took it for granted that you went to the game and the place was packed. You’d leave with a good feeling no matter the outcome of the game.”
Current OSU men's basketball coach Mike Boynton: “He’s a giant. He’s a giant of the sport. He casts a big shadow over our program, and I’m glad about it.”
OSU senior associate athletic director Larry Reece during a 2011 "Remember the 10" ceremony: "Coach, you were our John Wayne back then during those difficult days."
Former OSU star and NBA champion Tony Allen on Twitter: "To the man that gave me two of the best years of my life. I will forever be grateful to he and his entire family."
Former OSU guard Doug Gottlieb in 2017: “Nobody in the history of the game has taught one-on-one team defense like Eddie Sutton. It’s awful we judge him basically upon one or two bad moments. The man is an alcoholic. The man is a great basketball coach. Those two things can coincide and be true.”
Gottlieb on social media Saturday night: “You told us that life was hard, but if we could make it through your practices, we could achieve anything. You were right.”
NBA head coach and former Kentucky assistant Dwane Casey to the Lexington Herald-Leader: “Coach had a sixth sense. … I don’t know how to put an adjective on ‘it.’ But he had ‘it.’ We’re imperfect people, but he was a perfect coach.”
Former Kentucky star Rex Chapman, on Twitter Saturday night: "Eddie Sutton was a fascinating and complicated person. He also was an unbelievable teacher of the game of basketball. I was fortunate and lucky to have learned from him. Grateful."
Former Arkansas governor and president Bill Clinton in a 2016 video message: “Your time as coach was a defining era in Razorback basketball. You put our program on the map. You helped mold a generation of student-athletes into winners on the court and after they left. You made us think we could win again.”
Former Arkansas star Darrell Walker to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “This state is always going to be indebted to Coach Sutton, because he put Arkansas on the map basketball-wise. Coach Sutton won everywhere he went because he was a great teacher of the game. All the things that he taught us, I’m teaching my guys right now.”
Sidney Moncrief, former Arkansas All-American and NBA veteran: “Coach Sutton drilled us in the fundamentals. You played at Arkansas, you knew how to set picks, you knew how to pass the correct way, you knew how to pivot the correct way. You knew defensively where you should be. You knew everything about the fundamentals of basketball.”
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas on Twitter: "RIP to legendary basketball coach Eddie Sutton. The first coach to take four different teams to the NCAA Tournament, Sutton won 800 games and reached a Final Four in three different decades. A Naismith Hall of Famer."
Stephen F. Austin coach and former OSU assistant Kyle Keller on Twitter: "Eddie Sutton Changed Multiple Generations as the Greatest Teacher of Life who happened to use a Basketball ... He will always be My Coach."
Compiled by Jeff Patterson, Sports editor