KU coach Bill Self always thrilled to see longtime Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton
No Kansas basketball trip to Stillwater, Okla., is ever quite right for Kansas coach Bill Self without Eddie Sutton being a part of it.
And Monday night the legendary former Cowboys coach was in attendance during the Jayhawks’ 65-50 win at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Introduced to the GIA crowd during a timeout in the second half of KU’s victory, Sutton was serenaded with cheers from all over the arena, as Jayhawks and Cowboys alike took a moment to celebrate the 83-year-old coaching legend.
After the game, Self, who worked under Sutton at OSU from 1990-93, took the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate Sutton’s presence, making yet another plea for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to induct Sutton into its halls as soon as possible.
“Hopefully he’ll be elected into the Hall this year, which he richly deserves,” Self said during his postgame interview. “He’s an amazing coach. I spent three years with him and the things we do every day are things that he taught us and taught me. As a coach, I’d like to make Coach (Larry) Brown proud and (former OSU coach) Leonard (Hamilton) proud and certainly Coach Sutton proud by watching my teams play (and showing them) something that they would respect.”
Self said he got word before the game that Sutton would be in attendance. And he came out of the locker room a little early to make sure he could get over to him to say hello.
Self saw Sutton recently, during an Oklahoma Hall of Fame event last year, and said he was happy to spend more time with him than a game-night handshake allows.
In Self’s eyes, Sutton, who won 806 games during his 37-year NCAA Division I coaching career at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Fransisco, has meant as much to college basketball as anyone.
And he compared Sutton’s impact to that of Henry Iba, the longtime Oklahoma A&M/Oklahoma State basketball coach who coached Sutton and stuck around Stillwater long after his coaching days were finished.
“I always thought Mr. Iba was taken for granted so much in this area because everybody was so comfortable with him because they saw him around all the time,” said Self, who played at OSU from 1981-85. “When you see somebody all the time, sometimes you maybe take for granted the magnitude of the role they play with making our game what it is. And I feel the same thing about coach (Sutton). I feel like coach has been around and everybody knows of coach. When he’s around a lot, all those things I think sometimes people can take for granted the (impact) he’s had on our game. He’s pretty awesome.”