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Legendary basketball coach Eddie Sutton, who spent 11 years at Arkansas, passed away Saturday evening at the age of 84.
He is considered one of the best college basketball coaches of all-time. Here are some numbers from his career that show why…
Including a pair of vacated victories at Kentucky, Sutton won 806 games as a Division I head coach. That total ranks 25th among coaches at four-year schools, regardless of level, and ninth among DI coaches.
Sutton is one of only 15 coaches who have led multiple teams to the Final Four. He took the Razorbacks in 1978 and then took Oklahoma State in 1995 and 2004.
During his 11-year tenure, Sutton was an incredible 120-8 in games played in Fayetteville, giving him a .938 winning percentage. According to HogStats.com, that is the best of any Arkansas head coach.
Just once – in Year 2 – did Sutton fail to finish first or second in the Southwest Conference, meaning his teams finished in the top two 10 times. The Razorbacks won the regular-season title outright three times, tied for first on two more occasions and finished runner-up five times. The lone exception was in 1975-76, when the finished fourth.
Considering that stat, it isn’t surprising that Sutton’s .799 conference winning percentage (139-35) is the best in SWC history and the best for any Arkansas head coach, according to HogStats.com.
Sutton went 260-75 overall at Arkansas, giving him a winning percentage of .776 during his 11-year tenure. He won at least 21 games in each of his last nine seasons.
.377 / .370
In the 11 years immediately prior to Sutton’s arrival, Arkansas won just 37.7 percent of its games (101-167) and only 37.0 percent of its conference games (57-97). Only two of those seasons had a winning record.
Only nine coaches have been named the AP College Basketball National Coach of the Year for men’s basketball multiple times since the award was created in 1967 – John Wooden, Guy Lewis, Bob Knight, Ralph Miller, Ray Meyer, Roy Williams, Tony Bennett and Sutton. Sutton (Arkansas and Kentucky) is one of only three who won it at different schools, with the others being Williams (Kansas, North Carolina) and Tony Bennett (Washington State, Virginia).
Sutton was named his conference’s coach of the year eight times – four times in the SWC at Arkansas, once in the SEC at Kentucky, once in the Big Eight and twice in the Big 12 at Oklahoma State. (Creighton was an independent when he was there.)
Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State each reached the NCAA Tournament under Sutton’s leadership, making him the first coach to lead four different programs to the big dance. The feat has since been accomplished by a handful of other coaches.
When he’s inducted posthumously later this year, Sutton will become the Razorbacks’ third representative in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, joining Nolan Richardson and Sidney Moncrief.
In 37 seasons as a Division I head coach, Sutton failed to win more than half of his games just twice. He finished with a sub.-500 mark with Kentucky in 1988-89 (13-19) and as the interim coach at San Francisco in 2007-08 (6-13).
The Razorbacks have beaten the AP’s No. 1 team just once in 12 attempts. That victory came on Feb. 12, 1984, when Sutton led them to a 65-64 win over North Carolina and Michael Jordan in Pine Bluff.