Following a car accident last month that resulted in charges of aggravated drunken driving, speeding and crossing the center line against Sutton, the coach promised to enter an alcohol treatment program. He first had surgery to correct nagging back problems but began the alcohol treatment program last week, the school said in a news release.
“I appreciate Coach Sutton’s positive attitude and the responsible way he has approached taking care of his back and pain problems and attacking the disease of alcoholism which he, like many others, battles,” surgeon Jim Rodgers said in the release. “I know Coach Sutton regrets deeply what has happened but I think people will be pleased with how he has faced his situation head on and stepped up to do what he said he would do to take care of these serious health problems.”
The university identified the treatment program only as being “part of a nationally recognized program administered through and in conjunction with a world-class medical facility” that treats patients from around the country.
It was identified as an “active and structured treatment program” that lasts at least five weeks and includes “individual and group counseling as well as integrating therapeutic techniques to address craving and relapse.” Rodgers said the treatment program will mesh well with Sutton’s physical therapy regimen, which includes exercises to strengthen his abdominal and lumbar muscles and improve his flexibility.
University spokesman Gary Shutt said Oklahoma State was not identifying the program nor where it would take place to protect the coach’s medical privacy.
Sutton took a medical leave of absence following the Feb. 10 crash. His son, Sean Sutton, has been coaching in his place. The Cowboys (17-15) began play in the NIT on Wednesday night at Miami (Fla.).
Eddie Sutton is two wins away from becoming the fifth coach with 800 career victories. The school decided the Cowboys’ wins and losses should continue to count toward Sutton’s record, even in his absence.