Patsy Sutton died Tuesday at the age of 74. The wife of Eddie, the mother of Steve, Sean and Scott. She was a charming woman. I got to know her in my six years on the OSU basketball beat. She met Eddie Sutton in Stillwater, her hometown, while they were OSU students in the 1950s and she enjoyed her family’s return to Stillwater in 1991 for what became a memorable 15-year coaching renaissance at their alma mater.
Among the Suttons’ players was Doug Gottlieb, the OSU point guard for three season, 1997-00, who now is a rising star in the media world, having just left ESPN for CBS, where he has relocated his radio show and for whom he will call college basketball games.
On his Facebook account, Gottlieb wrote a stirring tribute to Patsy Sutton that I thought was worth sharing:
“Patsy Sutton died today. As a basketball family, we have all lost something more dear to us than any game could ever mean. We lost our mother. Momma Sutton, like all the Sutton women, was amazing in her strength through tough times and her grace in good times. She was always there for us. Coach might want to send you home, but Patsy Sutton could give you a hug and tell you she loved you and suddenly the old man did not seem so bad.
“It is very easy to think this is all hokey, but you have to understand Stillwater, OSU basketball and how special she was in order to relate. Stillwater is home to the best three years of my life, but it is far from anything else I knew when I arrived: 48,000 residents; 25,000 students; no mall, few restaurants and exactly zero hills in Payne County. But while the land might be a bit barren, it is a wellspring of kind, wonderful people and ridiculously attractive women.
“My parents have known the Suttons since the ’60s when my dad coached with Coach at Creighton. Patsy was always warm and my mom remembers that she once came over for dinner, sans children, and told my mom how happy she was to have a conversation with someone who ‘cuts their own meat.’ So she always looked out for me, was there for me, was sweet to me and I frankly needed it. Though I am blessed to have two healthy parents, they were in California and my defacto father (Coach) made me a bit of the whipping boy. I could take it, but Patsy helped.
“Stillwater can be lonely around Thanksgiving, especially when you have two practices and a meal at the Country Club. But Patsy made sure to find our every player’s favorite recipe and have them serve it with dinner at SCC, even if it was Mac N Cheese like many guys liked. Maybe more than anything, Patsy Sutton was what we all aimed to find. A sweet OSU coed, far out of our league, that we could start a family of our own with.
“Consider this, if imitation is the most sincere for of flattery, how flattering is this. Coach and Patsy are both alums, just like Brett Robisch and Shana Robisch, just like Brooks Thompson and Michelle Thompson, just like Sean and Trena Winters Sutton, just like Brian and Amanda Montonati, just like Desmond and Andrea Mason, Chad and Kaley Glidewell Alexander, Tommy and Jami Evans Warner, Rodney and Sallie Sooter, Alex and Denise Webber, and me and Angie, of course. Check facebook if you want, all the women are way out of the league of the men, much like Coach would tell you about Patsy.
“The truth is that in those years when Oklahoma State basketball was great, we worked hard, competed harder, won games, made lifelong friends and memories and were able to grow as people due to the isolation of Stillwater, the leadership of Coach and the nurturing nature of Patsy Sutton. She will be missed, remembered and hopefully we can honor how she treated others by doing the same. Coach called her ‘Honey’ so often that their grandkids made that her nickname. While we weren’t allowed to curse at practice and Coach never cursed, everyone knew he could run you till your ankles smoked, but he changed his disposition as soon she was around. How could you not.
“Through it all Patsy was always there for us all, Coach included. RIP Momma Sutton, your boys will all miss you.”