Oral Roberts U. hires Sean Sutton as adviser
The reclamation of Sean Sutton’s coaching career has begun.
The former Oklahoma State basketball coach, who pleaded guilty
in August to illegally obtaining prescription drugs and
acknowledged an addiction to painkillers, will serve as an adviser
to the Oral Roberts program led by his brother, Scott Sutton.
”He is a gifted and very experienced coach and he’ll be a great
help to us,” school President Mark Rutland said Thursday during a
news conference at the private Tulsa school. ”At this university,
we believe in the stewardship of gifts and we believe in the
process of redemptive grace.”
Sean Sutton will not be able to give direct instruction to
players, but he will be able to watch practice and film and make
suggestions to his brother and the Golden Eagles’ three full-time
”Right now, it’s a six-month role and we’ll see where
everything settles after that point,” Sean Sutton said. ”I do
believe that hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to go back
somewhere as a full-time coach in the spring. … In the meantime,
I’m going to enjoy this experience and do the best I can for this
Scott Sutton said the brothers’ famous coaching father, Eddie
Sutton, had given his blessing to the deal.
”This is a great day for ORU basketball and for me
personally,” Scott Sutton said.
Eddie Sutton recorded 804 wins during a career with stops at
Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco.
Sean Sutton served as an assistant under his father at Oklahoma
State for 13 years before becoming the Cowboys’ head coach after a
drunken-driving accident involving Eddie Sutton in 2006.
Sean Sutton went 39-29 in two turbulent seasons, failing to make
the NCAA tournament, and resigned under pressure in April 2008. He
has been out of coaching ever since but received a $2.2 million
settlement from Oklahoma State.
Scott Sutton has carved out a comfortable niche at Oral Roberts,
where he’s won four Summit League titles. He’s 204-139 as he enters
his 12th season with the Golden Eagles. He’s taken Oral Roberts to
the NCAA tournament three times and owns regular-season wins over
Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma State, the latter when his brother
was the Cowboys’ coach.
On Feb. 11, Sean Sutton was arrested after agents from the
Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs said he picked up
a shipment of painkillers under another person’s name. He spent a
night in jail before entering treatment in Utah six days after his
arrest. He said he spent 115 days in treatment, 25 longer than the
program is intended to last.
After his guilty plea in Payne County District Court, Sean
Sutton was sentenced to three years of probation. His probation
could be revoked if he violates the terms, which will likely
include random drug testing. Otherwise, he would be cleared of any
charges and be without a felony conviction on his record if he
stays clean through Aug. 9, 2013.
Oral Roberts athletic director Mike Carter said Rutland watched
Sean Sutton’s news conference admitting his addiction and decided
that ”this was the place for him to be.”
”After five minutes, I was sold,” Sean Sutton said.
Sean Sutton, 42, recently moved from Stillwater to Tulsa and
said he is ready to re-enter the coaching world. He said he’d been
a part of a team each from the time he was 8 until two years ago
and he has missed the camaraderie.
He also said that as a recovering addict, it will be good to
have something positive to help occupy his time.
”Idle time is not good for anybody but certainly for somebody
who has battled addiction, idle time will take you down,” he said.
”It was very important for me to get back into doing something
that I really love to do, to keep me motivated every day to do the
right things, to stay strong in my recovery.”