Eddie Enjoyed Hall Of Fame Honor

John Helsley

Sean and Steve Sutton both saw it, or one or the other might not have believed it.

Upon the early April news informing the Sutton clan that Eddie, finally, would be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, they turned to their father to share the long-overdue honor and they saw it.

“I know that Steve and I saw the same thing,” Sean said recently, “he really did pump his fist underneath his blanket.”

Great joy it was, and none too soon, with Eddie passing on May 23 at his home in Tulsa.

They were all gathered there, too, when the Hall news was delivered via a phone call.

OSU fans always knew their coach was a Hall of Famer, and they and those who knew him, whether family or friends or former players, or one of the many Eddie touched in a special way confirmed he was a Hall of Famer in every way. As a coach, sure. But as a father. And a husband. And as a person.

The Naismith voters were slow to come around, although they had to be prompted by the mounting voices of Eddie supporters in recent years.

Still, for the Sutton family, the Naismith honor was special just the same. And it adds a needed chapter to the upcoming documentary on Eddie – simply titled Eddie – which debuts Monday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Sean is certain his father fully understood and enjoyed the news of his entry alongside so many basketball greats. After everyone left that day in April, Sean and Eddie were alone at the house, sharing a few more special moments.

“I had a conversation with him when everybody left the house,” Sean said. “He was very aware of things. I asked him, ‘Dad, you understand you made the Hall of Fame today, right?’

“He said, ‘Yes.’ I told him how great I thought it was and he was so deserving of that honor.”

Daniel Bobik, a starting guard on Eddie’s 2004 Final Four squad, found satisfaction in the Hall of Fame nod. Not just because of the joy of his final two seasons, played under Sutton following a transfer from BYU. He’s held memories and the influences of Sutton’s impact on him all these years since, including now as coach of the Queen Creek High School Bulldogs in Mesa, Arizona.

“Trying to carry on the legacy, I guess,” Bobik Said.

Sutton’s impact on Bobik wasn’t limited to events in Gallagher-Iba Arena. When Bobik transferred in, he did so without a scholarship initially. His wife was pregnant and money was tight, so Eddie pointed Bobik to jobs locally. When Bobik looked to attend church on Sundays, Eddie would schedule practice around him, and even connected him to Lee Manzer, who shares Bobik’s LDS faith.

So Bobik was pleased to hear the news of Eddie’s entry into the Hall of Fame.

“It was satisfying because we all knew he was a Hall of Fame coach,” Bobik said. “We knew what kind of person he was and the way that he treated other people. He was so good to me and my family.”

Those stories, and many of them, have flowed forth over the past two months. And in the aftermath of Eddie’s passing, the Suttons have been touched by the outpouring of love from so many who admired Eddie.

“It’s been overwhelming,” Sean said. “I had a sense, obviously, how popular and loved he’s always been with Oklahoma State and Arkansas fans and all his players. But people all over the country, through text messages and the things you see on Twitter, have said so many nice things about him.

“There have been great stories written. And it really wasn’t so much about how great a coach he was, but what a good person he was, along with his love for the game and what a historian of the game he was. We’ve all been so touched by the love and support.”

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