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KU coach Bill Self always thrilled to see longtime Cowboys coach Eddie Sutton

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Kansas coach Bill Self, left, congratulates Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton after the Jayhawks' 80-60 loss to OSU in Stillwater, Okla., on Feb. 9, 2004. The game marked Self's first trip to his alma mater as coach of the Jayhawks.

Kansas coach Bill Self, left, congratulates Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton after the Jayhawks' 80-60 loss to OSU in Stillwater, Okla., on Feb. 9, 2004. The game marked Self's first trip to his alma mater as coach of the Jayhawks. by Thad Allender/Journal-World File Photo

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.”

Comments

Jeff Kallmeyer 2 months ago

From the television footage last Monday, it looked like Coach Sutton might have some dementia issues? Hope he makes it into the HOF. Was there a public drinking episode or two in his past and could this be a reason for no induction thus far?

Armen Kurdian 2 months ago

He looks a lot like my sister-in-law's father did, and others I've seen with dementia. One of the worst diseases I can imagine. As you may remember, Dean Smith recently succumbed to Alzheimer's.

Kevin Boone 2 months ago

I live in the Tulsa area, and have had the fortune to meet Coach Sutton a couple times at fundraisers. He did have his issue with alcohol, and he has battles it his whole life. But as for his coaching and personal skills, there are not too many better than him. He was always generous with his time, shook so many hands, told so many of the same stories I'm sure he gets tired of telling....but he did anyway. Met him and Ted Owens at a benefit for local cancer centers, and the knowledge and history those 2 have is unbelievable! Sutton deserves to be in the HOF, I just hope they do it soon, while he can still tell those old Bball stories!

Bryce Landon 2 months ago

Yes, I did notice that Sutton looks like the kind of elderly people that I see so often at the nursing home. So sad to see him decline that way.

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