STILLWATER — Saying he thinks Oklahoma State can do better, Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder closed the book on the Sutton era of Cowboy basketball on Tuesday, announcing the resignation of Sean Sutton after two years as head coach.
"Whether it's right or wrong, we have high expectations of our basketball program.” Holder said at a Tuesday press conference. "We felt like we could do better and hopefully we will do better. Only time will tell. I feel like this is the best decision for us going forward.”
The announcement ended weeks of speculation about Sean Sutton's future with the program, which as a player and coach he helped build into a power over the past 18 years. And it may have been the heights the program reached — including a pair of Final Four trips under his coaching legend father Eddie Sutton — that caused the quick fall for Sean.
Sean Sutton was head coach for two full seasons, compiling a record of 39-29.
"Sean was a victim of those expectations,” Holder said. "It's hard to follow a legend and when that legend is your father, that's tough to the third power.”
Just four years ago, it appeared Sean Sutton's future was set. The Cowboys were coming off a sweep of the Big 12 regular and tournament titles and a trip to the Final Four when then athletic director Harry Birdwell negotiated a contract that named Sean Sutton the Cowboys' head coach designate. The following year, Sutton put together a recruiting class ranked No. 1 by Rivals.
All of that quickly unraveled when four of the players in that recruiting class eventually left Oklahoma State and another — Gerald Green — never arrived.
Then, on Feb. 10, 2006, Eddie Sutton was involved in an alcohol-related car accident. He admitted that he had a problem with drinking and was charged with aggravated driving under the influence. Eddie wouldn't coach at OSU again, giving Sean's career a quicker-than-expected start. Sean Sutton coached OSU's final 10 games in 2006.
Since taking over for his father, Sutton's teams played hot and cold, losing 19 straight games on the road at one point.