Sutton treated for head injury, later released

Updated: February 11, 2006, 6:11 PM ET
Associated Press

STILLWATER, Okla. -- Oklahoma State basketball coach Eddie Sutton was released from a Stillwater hospital on Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after suffering injuries in an automobile accident, a university spokesman said.

Athletic department spokesman Steve Buzzard said the 69-year-old Sutton suffered no serious injuries but will recuperate at home from bumps, bruises and lacerations suffered in the accident.

Witnesses told police that shortly before the accident, Sutton was unsteady on his feet and struck his head after falling in the parking lot of Gallagher-Iba arena before entering his vehicle, according to a statement released Saturday by Stillwater police.

A blood sample was taken from Sutton at the hospital because the accident resulted in an injury, the statement said. The results of the blood test will not be available for six to eight weeks.

Sutton's son Sean, the team's head coach designate, filled in for Eddie Sutton during Saturday's game against Texas A&M at College Station.

"It is good to be home, although I would rather be with my team in College Station," Sutton said in a statement released by the university. "I am certainly with them in spirit and I'm counting on them winning today, which is the best medicine I could receive."

The Cowboys lost 46-44.

Sutton said he plans to rejoin the team "as soon as possible." The Cowboys' next game will be at home against Kansas on Monday. After that, Oklahoma State won't play again until Feb. 19, when the Cowboys will host Texas.

"While we look forward to coach Sutton rejoining the team as soon as possible, we want him to take whatever time he needs to fully heal," Oklahoma state athletic director Mike Holder said.

Sutton was traveling late Friday afternoon to the Stillwater airport to fly with his team to College Station when the accident occurred. Sutton, whom police said suffered a head injury, had some bruising on his face but otherwise was alert upon being admitted to Stillwater Medical Center, university spokesman Gary Shutt said.

According to a police report, Sutton was traveling north on Washington Street in a sport utility vehicle when he traveled left of the centerline, corrected and then struck another SUV from behind as he was traveling about 60 mph.

Sutton's vehicle continued traveling north for a short distance, then left the roadway and struck a tree, Stillwater police reported.

Stillwater police said Saturday that the speed limit on that portion of Washington Street is 45 mph.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing and results will be forwarded to the Payne County District Attorney's office, police said. Police said no citation has been issued to Sutton.

"Not at this time," said Stillwater Police Department communications officer Chris Howell. "We're referring everything to the district attorney's office."

The occupant of the other SUV sustained minor injuries and was released at the scene, officers said.

"We remain grateful no one was seriously injured in the accident," Oklahoma State President David Schmidly said in a statement.

Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson opened his postgame comments Saturday with a message for Sutton.

"I think everybody has so much respect for coach Sutton," Sampson said. "When something like that happens, we all feel our own mortality. He and the Oklahoma State family are in our thoughts and prayers."

Sampson, who also wished the best to Kansas State coach Jim Wooldridge in his recovery from neck surgery, said "coaches don't like to be away from their team."

"When coach Sutton came across the screen yesterday that he was in a car wreck, I think everybody kind of held their breath," he said.

Earlier this season, Sutton moved into fifth place on the all-time NCAA coaching wins list, passing Lefty Driesell. He now trails only North Carolina's Dean Smith, Kentucky's Adolph Rupp, Texas Tech's Bob Knight and Jim Phelan of Mount St. Mary's on the all-time list.

After Saturday's loss, Oklahoma State is 13-11 overall and 3-7 in the Big 12 Conference.

Sutton, the first coach to take four schools to the NCAA tournament, has a career record of 794-309.

Sean Sutton already filled in for his father once this year when the elder Sutton sat out of a Nov. 19 contest against Texas-Arlington with chronic back pain.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press