Sutton mentions a counselor, 27 years sober. A mentor, 25 years sober. Sutton hopes he can be that kind of influence to others in recovery.
“I just feel like I have an opportunity — more than anything a responsibility — to educate people on the dangers of prescription drugs,” Sutton said. “People that might be trapped or stuck in addiction. That there's a way out. That you can't do it alone.”
Sutton always was great talking one-on-one or in small groups but never seemed comfortable in front of cameras or crowds. But now he's spoken maybe 50 times, in front of crowds of 30-40 or 500.
“I'm pretty comfortable talking about what happened,” Sutton said. “Where my life was and where it is today. I'm pretty straightforward, pretty honest about the stuff I went through.”
OK. So where is Sutton's life today?
“My life today is great,” he said. “Probably closer to my family than I ever have been. I'm happy. I've enjoyed being back, coaching basketball, so life's good.”
Sutton has spent two years as an assistant at Oral Roberts, where his brother, Scott, is head coach.
“I would like to be a head coach again if it's the right opportunity,” Sutton said. “But I don't have such an ego that I have to be a head coach to show people how valuable I am.
“It's never been about money or fame or anything like that. I just always loved the game. I've been an assistant coach a lot longer than I was a head coach.
“Sure, I'd like to be a head coach again. I didn't like the way things ended at Oklahoma State. I'd like another opportunity, but if it doesn't happen, I'm happy with what I'm doing.”
Including spreading a little hope.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.