Saturday , Feb , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Sutton slapped with DUI charge

Stillwater, OK (Sports Network) – Oklahoma State head men’s basketball coach
Eddie Sutton was officially charged with driving under the influence on
Friday, one week after being involved in an alcohol-related car accident.

Sutton, who is taking a medical leave of absence for the remainder of this
season while he recovers from injuries sustained in the accident, was also
charged with driving left of center in a marked zone and speeding by the Payne
County District Attorney’s office.

The announcement culminates a tumultous week for the 69-year-old Sutton, who
admitted a problem with alcohol during a news conference on Wednesday night.

If convicted of the misdemeanor DUI violation, Sutton could receive anywhere
from 90 days to one year of jail time as well as a fine of up to $2,500.

According to police reports, Sutton had a blood alcohol level of .22 — well
over Oklahoma’s legal mark of .08 — at the time of the accident, which also
involved another vehicle. A witness at the scene told police that Sutton was
unable to give the date, time or his current location after the accident
and was only able to provide his name and that he was in Stillwater.

The witness also described Sutton of having “a slight fruity odor to breath
with confusion and sometimes loud, angry verbal remarks towards questions.” In
addition, the same witness saw a prescription bottle of hydrocodone in
Sutton’s car.

Sutton said Wednesday that he did consumer alchohol after taking medication
for a back problem prior to the accident.

“For the past two years I have experienced a number of health
challenges,” he remarked. My back and hip situation is well documented.
The pain at times has been unbearable. Last Friday, the pain was so bad
that I took a lot of pain pills, but that didn’t seem to work, so I
succumbed to temptation and went and bought a bottle.

“That said, I make no excuses for what has happened. I have a problem with
alcohol. I recognize it and I will be seeking treatment for it; and I know I
have let many people down. I seek your help and I trust, as I address my
health challenges and my problem, I will once again be worthy of earning your
trust and respect.”

Sutton said he went to the Betty Ford Clinic in the 1980s and said he would be
checking into another treatment center in the near future.

Sean Sutton, son of the successful head coach, has assumed the reigns of the
OSU program on an interim basis and is expected to do so for the remainder of
the season.

Eddie Sutton has a career record of 794-311. The wins are fifth-most on the
NCAA Division I list, trailing Dean Smith (879), Adolph Rupp (876), Bobby
Knight (867) and Jim Phelan (830). Under Sutton’s guidance, OSU has advanced
to postseason play in 14 of 15 years, including 13 NCAA Tournament
appearances. He has won 20 games or more on 13 occasions in his tenure at
Oklahoma State. He is in his 16th season at Oklahoma State and his 36th season
overall at the Division I level.

Sutton, who previously coached at Creighton, Arkansas and Kentucky, was the
first coach in NCAA history to lead four different schools to the national
tournament and was joined in the exclusive club by Lefty Driesell and Jim
Harrick following the 2000-01 campaign.

Last year, the Cowboys spent the entire season ranked in the top 10 nationally
for the first time since the 1953-54 season.