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Legendary college basketball coach Eddie Sutton dies at 84

May 24 2020 7:27 AM

Eddie Sutton, the first college basketball coach to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament, died on Saturday. He was 84.

Sutton's family said he died of natural causes in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, surrounded by his three sons and their families.

"Dad and Mom treated their players like family and always shared the belief that his teachings went beyond the basketball court," the family wrote. "He cherished the time he spent at every school and appreciated the support of their loyal fans. He believed they deserved so much credit in the success of his programs."

Sutton was elected to the National Basketball Hall of Fame last month after winning 804 games during his 37-year coaching career at the Division I level.

He will be posthumously inducted as part of the 2020 class in August, along with Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Sutton coached at Southern Idaho, Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma State and San Francisco and reached the Final Four three times. He compiled a 260-75 record at Arkansas from 1974-85 and made nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

Sutton's career was tarnished when he resigned as Kentucky coach in 1989 after four seasons during an NCAA investigation into the program. The Wildcats would eventually receive a two-year postseason ban and were not allowed on live television for the 1989-90 season.

After beginning his coaching career as an assistant at Oklahoma State in 1958, Sutton returned to Stillwater as head coach of the Cowboys in 1990. During his 16 seasons as head coach, Oklahoma State made 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and reached Final Fours in 1995 and 2004.  

Sutton resigned following the 2005-06 season after a drunk-driving crash.

In 2005, the school announced the court at Gallagher-Iba Arena would be named Eddie Sutton Court.

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