Eddie Sutton and March Madness

With March madness upon us my travels continue with a  trip to Branson, MO in the near future. Working in the writing field you sometimes travel many roads at once.

Welcome back …. In the dictionary “luck” is defined as “chance,” “fortune,” “accidental” and “coincidence”. Picking Kathy Taylor to become Tulsa’s next mayor when she hadn’t yet publically entered the race several years ago was luck. Two years ago I also made the call on Tulsa’s current mayor Dewey Bartlett after I interviewed him, again luck. Last year I ran a story predicting that “The King’s Speech,” would win an Oscar when it hadn’t been released yet and this year I made the same prediction about “The Artist” before it was released nationally.  As you may know “The Artist” recently won “Best Picture” at the Academy Awards and again this was probably luck.

With basketball fever gearing up towards March Madness and after visiting with Eddie Sutton and longtime Channel 2 Sports anchor Big Al on Saturday, I am ready to make a prediction about this year’s tournament but first a little background on Coach Sutton.

Eddie Sutton was born on March 12, 1936 in Bucklin, Kansas. In 1957 he was recruited from high school to play ball at Oklahoma State University under legendary coach Henry Iba and developed a life long love of the game. After graduation he got his first head coaching position at a community college in Twin Falls, Idaho which at the time had no basketball program. Sutton founded the men’s basketball program at College of Southern Idaho and the team quickly became a successful competitor at the community college level.

Sutton left Idaho in 1969 to coach at Creighton University and made his first appearance at the NCAA finals in 1974 with the University’s Bluejays. Later in 1974 Sutton moved to the University of Arkansas where he revived their program and in 11 years the team won five Southwest Conference Championships, made nine NCAA tournament appearances and went to the final four once. Although successful and happy in Arkansas, Nolan Richardson would replace him when the most prestigious college basketball program in the country ,The University of Kentucky, came calling in 1985.

Sutton had four very successful seasons at Kentucky but his career there ended abruptly when problems were discovered with the program’s recruiting policies and he resigned. A year later Oklahoma State University offered him the opportunity to rebuild a program that had stagnated after Coach Iba’s retirement. Sutton and player Bryant “Big Country” Reeves led the Cowboys to the Final Four in 1995.

Today Sutton lives happily in the Tulsa area where he told me he is close to his grandchildren and attends his son Scott’s games at ORU. Getting to visit with this legend was sweet but hearing his prediction as to who will win this year’s March Madness would be even sweeter. Early that morning I had breakfast with Big Al and got his prediction about who will win the big dance this year and now Eddie Sutton! How could I go wrong?

Last year I took home a big screen TV when I picked UCONN as the NCAA Tournament winner. This week I have a dilemma, should I keep my knowledge to myself and take home another TV or give it up to a charity?

But then again all this hype about me, The Original Buffalo Dale scout, tracker, translator, interpreter and profiler you know could just be luck. Till then I’ll see ya down the road….





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