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Storytime with Doug: His best Eddie Sutton story

Doug Gottlieb tells a story about the time John Potter ran over Coach Sutton in practice.



Photo Attribution: Yahoo

Photo Attribution: Yahoo

I emailed Doug Gottlieb recently 10 questions I had for him about his career, OSU sports, and some of his favorite stories. He sent back some gems. I’m going to bring them to you in installments over the next few weeks. This is his best one on one of his coaches (footnotes are mine). As always, thanks to Doug for the tales.

Best coach story I have wasn’t my group, but everyone who played for him knows it. Lets simply call it the John Potter Story.

Coach Sutton is an alcoholic. It is hard to write, hard to read in print, but sadly it is true. I love my coach, my friend, my mentor and while that doesn’t define him solely, it is part of what makes Coach, Coach.

So when he first got clean after Kentucky, he had a heck of a sweet tooth and was constantly sucking on some sort of candy or other. This is commonplace for addicts as they move from one addiction to the next. Coach is notorious for having candy in his pockets and in several spots in his desk, but let us focus on the pockets for this story.

John Potter was on his first team at OSU. Potter was a goof, and by that I mean, the kind of smart aleck that will say and do anything to needle dudes. So Coach gets mad in practice because someone didn’t take a charge the right way.

When Coach came back to Stillwater, Coach was back. Sharp as ever, thoroughly involved in every aspect of practice and game preparation, Coach was chewing ass over someone not taking a charge when he yelled “You guys aren’t men, a college man should step in front and take a charge. Some one run me over I will show you how to do it.”

The guys looked around and everyone sheepishly passed except John Potter. Potter had that something that coaches hate[1. They also probably hated his inability to make a free throw.] and like all at once. A cockiness, a smugness and smart aleck way of being the guy to pull just some sort of stunt.

Potter was also 6’7 and Coach, though younger than the senior citizen he is now — it isn’t like Coach was a linebacker.

Potter grabbed the ball at the top of the key, and as instructed proceeded to run with the ball, not while dribbling, he just ran and plowed into coach.

This is where the candy comes in.

The secret to taking a charge is taking just enough contact to make it legit, yet act like a sledgehammer smashed your entire body.

Coach took too much contact in an act of toughness and Potter made the candy explode from his sweatsuit pockets like they were fired out of some piñata of a little kid’s dreams.

The managers scurried around like children after the piñata candy, coach dusted himself off and Potter went back to the line.

There used to be a restroom in the corner of Gallagher Iba that is essentially where the coaches locker rooms are today. It was the closest to the court, had some ugly yellow tile and as Jimmy Williams would later say “It smelled like a Georgia whore house.” (How would one know?)

Coach stumbled toward that bathroom, turned to the team and said “now that is how you take a charge.” He walked into the bathroom and practiced re-started, but Coach took the rest of the day off.

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