No, it’s not an April fools joke. Mike Holder, Oklahoma State’s vice president of athletics, announced today that he and head coach Sean Sutton have reached a mutual agreement for Sutton to resign effective immediately.
Sutton, who has been at OSU for 17 years as a player, assistant coach or head coach, was a part of 387 wins during his career at OSU. As a head coach, he was 39-29 in two years.
Although the official word out of Stillwater is that this was a resignation, the truth is Sutton was forced out of his job. After starting out 15-1 in his first full year (2006-2007) as head coach, the Cowboys stumbled the rest of the year missing the NCAA Tournament.
This past season started out about the same as the previous year ended. Although the Pokes finished strong down the stretch, it was not enough to overcome their slow start and they once again missed the NCAA Tournament. This was the third consecutive NIT appearance for the program, which made 13 of the previous 15 NCAA Tournaments prior to Sean Sutton taking over for his legendary father Eddie Sutton.
Was it fair for Holder and the OSU athletic department to get rid of Sutton after two short years? Probably not.
Was it a good decision? Probably so.
A once proud program was floundering under Sutton. Several high profile players were either kicked off the team, quit the team or transferred out. Attendance to OSU home games was at an all-time low (since the arena was remodeled).
The fact is Sutton was not only a head coach for two years, he was part of the program for 15 years prior to that. He served as his father’s number one assistant and ran the program day-to-day operations for several years prior to being named head coach. He also served as head coach designate for a year prior to being named head coach.
In the end, it was time for something new in the OSU basketball. Sutton is a good coach and will most likely prove himself somewhere else. The Cowboys can now try to bring in someone else and build on the tradition built by the Sutton family.