Sean Sutton on Eddie Sutton movie: ‘I would not essentially say it was straightforward, however it was vital’

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On Monday evening, ESPN will air EDDIE, a documentary about Eddie Sutton, the legendary school basketball coach who was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame lower than two months previous to his demise in Could. He was 84 years previous.Sutton’s life was marked by his wonderful achievements on the court docket and his struggles past it. He was the primary coach to take 4 completely different packages to the NCAA event. He reached the Last 4 3 times. And he is one of many winningest coaches in Division I historical past with 806 victories in a profession that spanned 37 seasons.2 RelatedBut an NCAA recruiting scandal that preceded his resignation at Kentucky and a drunk-driving accident in his last week at Oklahoma State, his alma mater, lingered as shadows that many consider prevented him from being chosen to the Corridor of Fame till his seventh nomination.EDDIE, produced by filmmaker Christopher Hunt, examines these highs and lows, together with the methods Sutton’s household was touched by the icon’s struggles.Sean Sutton, who performed for his father at each Kentucky and Oklahoma State and succeeded his father as head coach of the Cowboys, mentioned he wished Hunt to be trustworthy in his portrayal and hopes the movie provides a full image of his father’s life.Now an advisor at Texas Tech underneath Chris Beard, Sean lately spoke with ESPN about each the movie and his father’s life:ESPN: Sean, it has been a couple of month because you misplaced your father. How is your loved ones coping?Sean Sutton: We’re doing OK. I believe, wanting again, my dad had a terrific life. And it was powerful to see him stay the best way he needed to stay the final three or 4 years of his life after he had these three strokes. One good factor is he stayed in the home the entire time, and he had 24-care round him. He’d misplaced his potential to talk [at the end]. That is powerful for an individual who loved visiting with individuals. It was considered one of his finest instruments. Speaking is what made him what he was as an individual. Though you are by no means able to say goodbye, I do know he was able to be with my mother [Sutton’s wife, Patsy, died in 2013 following a stroke]. I believe the household appreciates the nice instances with him.Sean succeeded his father after Eddie stepped down amid the fallout from a 2006 drunk driving arest. AP Picture/Sue OgrockiESPN: There have been some emotional moments for you and your loved ones on this documentary. What was it wish to movie the documentary and open your life to the movie crew?Sean Sutton: It was a protracted course of. I did three separate sit-down interviews, in all probability over three hours every. I in all probability interviewed someplace between 9 and 10 hours over a six-month interval. You must put your self within the thoughts body of when all these completely different occasions occurred, circumstances round his profession. Definitely, there have been a variety of nice achievements. There have been a variety of highlights, however there have been some tough instances our household went by. With every, I believe it made our household somewhat bit stronger. And our mom, Patsy, was the rock of the household by all the pieces.It taught us at a younger age that adversity is a part of life. You both rise above it otherwise you crumble with it. Dad was a terrific instance of that to me and my brothers. My mother refused to allow us to buckle underneath these circumstances. It in all probability ready us for different issues down the street. It wasn’t straightforward to return and sort of relive it. However you possibly can’t inform the nice with out the unhealthy. There was some actually good, unhealthy and ugly. That was my dad. That was my life. To open up and speak about a few of the issues that went on behind the scenes for the general public to view, I would not essentially say it was straightforward, however it was vital. It was vital to get an correct depiction of his life and profession. I believe the movie paints a reasonably correct image of his life, his profession and all the pieces that our household went by collectively.”To open up and speak about a few of the issues that went on behind the scenes for the general public to view, I would not essentially say it was straightforward however it was vital. It was vital to get an correct depiction of his life and profession.”

Sean Sutton

ESPN: The movie showcases his huge character. He actually understood the facility of TV and used it to advertise the groups he coached. The place did that swagger come from?Sean Sutton: I am unsure. He is kinda like a pioneer by way of that, particularly at Arkansas. He actually promoted that model. He promoted his program. He promoted himself. He was forward of his time by way of doing all of that. He had radio exhibits, tv exhibits. He is one of many first individuals to get a pep band to play at video games. He at all times believed in himself and believed in what he was doing. He additionally understood as a way to win it’s important to have among the best home-court atmospheres and home-court benefits in school basketball. I believe he understood that followers play an enormous half in a program’s success, and due to that I believe he felt like he wished them to know the way a lot he appreciated them. He additionally wished them to get to know him on a extra intimate foundation, to point out his character.ESPN: In 2001, a aircraft crash killed 10 individuals, together with eight members of the Oklahoma State basketball neighborhood and two pilots, following a street sport at Colorado. Your father performed an instrumental position as all the state healed, in a chapter examined within the movie. How did the crash have an effect on him?Sean Sutton: I’ve by no means been extra happy with my dad than I used to be throughout that point after the aircraft crash. Nothing in teaching prepares you for that kind of tragedy. The individuals on that aircraft have been individuals all of us beloved and cared about. It did not appear actual on the time.I will always remember the telephone name. He referred to as me that evening. The film talks about it. I bear in mind going as much as his workplace that evening and watching him name all these relations. It was painful. It was so arduous on him as a result of he felt such regret. He carried a variety of guilt with that as a result of, finally, he is the one who assigned the [people] on the completely different planes. It is superb how robust he was throughout that complete course of. It was such a tragic expertise, however I believe what it did is it made him actually recognize day by day. He referred to as me and my brothers and his grandkids day by day sooner or later within the day. Tragedies happen, and he did not need to depart something left unsaid.Eddie Sutton led Oklahoma State to a pair of Last 4 appearances throughout his tenure in Stillwater. AP Picture/Charlie RiedelESPN: What was it like rising up with a father who struggled with dependancy, a topic the movie tackles and one thing you later wrestled with in your personal life?Sean Sutton: There have been a number of highs and lows all through our relationship. After I was younger, I put my dad on this enormous pedestal. I idolized him. I wished to be a coach and be like him. Definitely, issues began to alter after I was 13, 14 years previous. It was in all probability within the midst of his alcoholism. There have been issues mentioned throughout these instances at residence, particularly to me and my mom, that weren’t straightforward to listen to. He became a completely completely different individual. He went from this person who was so completely happy and so giving to somebody you did not acknowledge. He turned so annoyed typically.Me and my mother obtained the worst of it. He would discover issues that he thought would harm you or sting you essentially the most and try this. On the time, I used to be so conflicted as a result of it did not resemble who he was. He was extra mad at himself, however he was deflecting that on me and my mom. Due to that three- or four-year interval … it difficult our relationship. I even thought, ‘I will by no means enable one thing to take management of my life,’ after which, in fact, as I deliberate it and guarded in opposition to it, ultimately, it did. I had a completely completely different kind of relationship with my youngsters [when I was addicted to pain pills]. It is unlucky. Habit is a household illness. I believe it is in all probability most vital to me to interrupt the dependancy cycle in my household. The ache and the destruction and heartache of dependancy is only a unhealthy place to be. I hope it ends with me.Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY SportsESPN: Your dad reached the 800-win mark throughout a brief stint as an interim coach at San Francisco through the 2007-08 season. What did that quantity imply to him?Sean Sutton: I do not know. Unexpectedly, he obtained fixated on that quantity. On the time, not many coaches had performed it. I do not know that he got down to obtain it, however the nearer he obtained — on the time, perhaps solely 5 or 6 coaches had ever performed it — someway it turned essential to him. It wasn’t something he actually talked about till the very finish. He coached as a result of he beloved the sport. That quantity, nonetheless, he obtained fixated on it. In some methods, it began changing into about that ultimately [of his coaching career].ESPN: What do you hope individuals study from this movie?Sean Sutton: I believe they will see any person who had a rare life. He had some powerful obstacles to beat. However he is one of many final individuals who can return to the good generations. He performed in opposition to Wilt Chamberlain. He coached in opposition to Larry Chicken, coached in opposition to Michael Jordan, coached in opposition to Hakeem Olajuwon. He is one of many final guys you possibly can hint again to when school basketball actually began to take off within the 1940s and 1950s. He definitely performed for one of many nice coaches [at Oklahoma State] in Henry Iba. I believe they will see any person who had some powerful obstacles to beat. However he lived a full life.

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