STILLWATER — When Eddie and Sean Sutton arrived at Oklahoma State University in 1990, Cowboy basketball had been to one NCAA Tournament in 25 years, had zero NCAA wins in 25 years and Gallagher-Iba Arena seated 6,381 and rarely was full.
The Sutton era ended Tuesday with the force-out of Sean as head coach. Three straight NIT appearances mark the end of the Sutton era, but the first 15 years were glorious.
Thirteen NCAA Tournaments. Six Sweet 16's. Three conference tournament titles. Two conference championships. Two Final Fours. And a glittering arena that seats 13,611 and was packed on many a winter night.
Eddie Sutton coached the Cowboys; Sean was point guard on his dad's first two teams, then returned after a year's absence and was his right-hand assistant for seasons.
"This is a great job,” OSU athletic director Mike Holder said while relieving Sean Sutton of that very post. "That's in part due to the Sutton family.
"They came back, restored the swagger to basketball at Oklahoma State. Took us to the NCAA Tournament. Made us feel like that was where we belonged.
"Together, they made OSU basketball what it is today.”
But the era ended without such grandeur. Eddie Sutton lost his job over a drunk-driving incident in February 2006, now Sean has lost his job after coaching the Cowboys to three straight NITs, counting the year he took over for his dad.
"The Suttons have meant an awful lot to Oklahoma State University,” said OSU president Burns Hargis. "Parting is never easy.”