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Three Reasons Oklahoma State Should Not Hire Sean Sutton



The venerable Robert Allen wrote over the weekend that new OSU head basketball coach Mike Boynton should consider hiring Sean Sutton as one of his assistants for the upcoming season.

Sean and his brother Scott were fired from ORU after Scott refused a proposal in which he would have coached in 2018 and then resigned. Strange times in Tulsa. Anyway, here’s what Allen said about Sean joining Boynton’s crew.

It would take extreme confidence on Boynton’s part to consider this hire. I think the new coach has that. He has a way he wants his team to play and it sound a lot like the way Sean Sutton coached his teams to play and the way his dad’s teams were coached when Sean was a player and an assistant coach. Just about five months from turning 49, Sean Sutton does not have a record.

His conviction was dismissed and his records expunged after he met the requirements of his probation. He has coached against the likes of Self, Huggins, Kruger, and Drew. He knows the entrance that visiting teams use to enter every visiting Big 12 basketball venue. His experience with basketball would be advantageous. He can recruit, but that doesn’t have to be his main task. [Go Pokes — $]

And my thoughts on this idea: No.

Here are three reasons.

1. The Fallout

What’s done is done with Sean, and good on him for getting sober. But in the same way you couldn’t bring Eddie back after he got his DUI, you shouldn’t bring Sean back after he was arrested for drug usage.

Even if the issue spiraled after he was already let go of as coach and the fallout did not nearly resonate like it did with Eddie, there is still a feeling that this whole situation would linger a little bit. People would always wonder. It seems best for both parties to not revisit that.

That’s a personal opinion, and I can see why someone would take the other side of it — heck, I could be talked into the other side of it — but that’s where I land right now. It has nothing to do with forgiveness or grace and more to do with what’s wise for Oklahoma State as well as for Sean Sutton.

2. The Shadow

The Sutton-shaped shadow that still presides over Stillwater is thicker and bigger than many people can imagine.

There were people who thought a Sutton, any Sutton, maybe even one of the grandkids should have been head coach even when Brad Underwood was rocking GIA at the end of February. That legacy runs deeper than a James Washington go route in Stillwater, and any cover Sean could provide for Boynton wouldn’t be worth the potential divisiveness it would create between Boynton and the fans.

That’s nothing against Sean. He’s probably a terrific assistant. But what happens if you hire Sean and OSU starts 3-10 in Big 12 play next year and Boynton is floundering a little bit? You and I both know what happens. This was maybe the least galvanizing hire in Oklahoma State men’s basketball history. There’s no reason to perpetuate that notion.

3. Leading Man

As recently as last year Sutton expressed an interest in being a head basketball coach. Not that precedent is what should drive decisions — again, I was repping Doug Gottlieb as the head coach in Stillwater — but has there ever been a scenario in which a head coach from a school was fired, was looking for another head coaching job and then was re-hired by the school that fired him as an assistant?

I think this would be a little different if it was, say, James Dickey looking to ride off into the sunset as an assistant and player developer. But it seems pretty awkward to me for OSU to hire Sean and him to have to say goodbye in two years because he just got hired at Hofstra.

I admit the idea as a whole is not completely catastrophic, but it seems like you can accomplish what he provides you — experience, good recruiter, knowledge of the area — in ways that don’t include bringing on the excess baggage that hiring Sean Sutton (again) would bring.

One of our writers made another good point to me this afternoon: If you’re Boynton whom someone went out on a limb for to hire, why would you even consider asking to bring on someone that your new boss has previously fired?

Again, this is nothing against Sean. I’m glad his life has improved and happy for his family. But this is a complex situation that goes beyond any single person, and it would behoove all the Mikes making decisions in Stillwater to avoid it.

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