For love of the game
Texas men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes is one of many Big 12 coaches who have telephoned to congratulate former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton on his 800th career victory, which came last Saturday in San Francisco’s victory over Pepperdine.
“I’m happy for him. And you know what? I think he’s happy,” Barnes said of Sutton after beating Oklahoma 64-54 in Norman on Wednesday.
Though San Francisco is just 2-8 since Sutton’s arrival, the Dons have improved immensely. Barnes is good friends with Gonzaga’s Mark Few, who also coaches in the West Coast Conference.
“When you go to San Francisco, I’m not sure you even think you can win a game,” Barnes said. “But talking to Mark, he’s amazed in a two-week period how Eddie Sutton changed that program. He’s amazed. He said they’re a totally different team.”
Sutton returned to coaching to collect career win No. 800. Barnes had a front-row seat for career win No. 700. It came in 2002 when the Cowboys beat Texas in Austin and OSU players carried Sutton off the court inside the Erwin Center. “That seems like forever ago,” Barnes admitted.
Barnes said he thinks there was more to Sutton’s return than getting No. 800.
“Why’d he come back? I think it’s the love of the game,” Barnes said. “He’s never ever said anything to me about getting into the Hall of Fame or 800 wins. You can tell he still loves the game.”
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