|For first time, Sutton brothers square off as coaches|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 19 December 2007 12:54|
Sean Sutton, who coaches Oklahoma State, said he agreed to play Scott Sutton's Oral Roberts squad on Thursday in the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City for one reason - to do something nice for his brother, who is in his ninth season toiling in the low-major Summit League.
The 72nd annual All-College Classic, which also will feature a game between No. 18 Gonzaga and Oklahoma, will be nationally televised by ESPN. Sean said ESPN's suggestion of potential opponents for Oklahoma State in the event included Oral Roberts.
``I said, 'I don't know if I want to do that. Let me call Scott.' I asked him if he thought it would really help their program and make a big difference for them and he said it would, so that's how it developed,'' Sean said.
``I'm not doing it again. I just - I thought this would help his program (and would be) a chance for him to be on ESPN. So I've done my favor.''
The Sutton brothers are the sons of Eddie Sutton, who retired as Oklahoma State's coach after the 2005-06 season. Eddie Sutton won 798 games in 36 seasons at four NCAA Division I schools - Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.
Sean, an assistant for 13 seasons for his father, became the Cowboys' head coach before last season and is 27-17, including a 5-4 record this season, when three of Oklahoma State's losses have come to Marquette, Illinois and Pittsburgh.
Scott, 37, is 20 months younger than Sean, who turned 39 in October. Scott became Oral Roberts' coach before the 1999-2000 season and has a 150-106 career record. The Golden Eagles (6-4) have won the last three regular-season titles in the league formerly known as the Mid-Continent Conference and played in the last two NCAA tournaments.
One of Scott's biggest career wins came last season against one of Oklahoma State's Big 12 Conference brethren, as the Golden Eagles won 78-71 at then-No. 3 Kansas. Oral Roberts played current No. 4 Texas tough on Tuesday before falling 66-56.
Oklahoma State is 15-4 against Oral Roberts, with the teams' last meeting coming on Dec. 2, 1997. When he was Oklahoma State's coach, Eddie Sutton steadfastly declined to play Oral Roberts after Scott became the Golden Eagles' head coach, although he did play them when Scott was an assistant at the private school located in Tulsa.
Scott said he is excited the Golden Eagles have a rare chance to play on national television, but also acknowledges misgivings about the matchup.
``Personally, I'm not real fired up about playing against Sean,'' he said. ``I did it as an assistant and didn't really enjoy it. That was something I had to do for our program, to get on national TV. There will be a lot publicity about Sean and myself playing against each other. It will be good for our program and not very good for the Suttons.''
The Suttons' mother, Patsy, won't attend the game. Sean said she hasn't even spoken with him about it.
``She never likes these games,'' he said. ``She didn't like these games against ORU when Scott was an assistant there in the mid-90s. I'm sure she won't even watch the game. I'm not even sure she'll call to see who won.''
Scott said Eddie Sutton probably also would have chosen not to attend, but ``he's got to go'' because he will be inducted into the All-College Classic Hall of Fame.
``I think that's the only reason he's going,'' Scott said. ``He's not going to cheer.''
It's not the first brother-vs.-brother coaching matchup involving Oklahoma State. When Clarence Iba coached at Tulsa from 1949 to 1960, his Golden Hurricane played the school now known as Oklahoma State - then coached by Henry Iba - 20 times. Oklahoma State won 16 of those games.
In February 2004, Yale's James Jones and Columbia's Joe Jones became the first brothers since the Ibas to coach against each other in a major-college game. The most recent such meeting of brothers came last season, between the sons of former Georgetown coach John Thompson. John Thompson III's Georgetown Hoyas beat Ronny Thompson's Ball State Cardinals 69-54.
With Christmas coming up, Sean was asked, will the Sutton-vs.-Sutton matchup cause any awkwardness when the family gets together?
``I don't think so,'' he quipped. ``Unless we lose.''
AP Sports Writer Jim Vertuno contributed to this report from Austin, Texas.