Holder and Sutton met on Monday to discuss the status of the program. After careful consideration both came to the conclusion it would be in the best interest of the program for Sutton to resign.
“After discussions with Sean, and after examining the status of our program, Sean and I both concluded that it is in the best interest of both the OSU men’s basketball program and Sean to go a different direction at this time,” Holder said.
“This was an extremely difficult decision and this is a sad day for me personally and this university. We cannot overlook the contributions Sean has made to OSU as a player, assistant coach and head coach. OSU is deeply appreciative and grateful to Sean as well as his father Eddie, who together revived OSU basketball and made the program a consistent contender for conference, tournament and national championships,” Holder said.
“Sean played a major role in the ascension of OSU basketball into the top tier of the nation,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “While this was indeed a tough decision for everyone we all agree that it is the right decision for the future of the program and for Sean.
“I appreciate the professional way in which Sean and Mike addressed the situation and I am pleased they arrived at a mutual decision on how we should move forward. We appreciate Sean’s professionalism and I know everyone joins me in wishing him only the best in the future,” Hargis said.
Sutton said, “I want the fans and my OSU family to know how much I have appreciated their support over the last 17 years. It has been a great experience and I have loved every minute of my time here at OSU. I also want to thank our players, coaches and entire staff for all their hard work and support. My family and I will always have fond memories of OSU and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this great program and this great university.”
Sutton leaves OSU with an overall record of 39-29. During his 17 years at OSU the Cowboys compiled 387 wins.
“While we respect the decision, we nevertheless admire the work of Sean and Eddie to restore OSU basketball to national prominence,” said Lou Watkins, chair of the OSU/A&M Board of Regents. “We know this is a difficult time for Sean and for OSU, but we are confident under the leadership of our President and VP of Athletics, OSU will find the right person to lead our program. In the meantime, we wish Sean only the very best in the future.”
As a player, Sutton transferred to OSU from Kentucky and playing for his father, Eddie Sutton, helped lead the Cowboys to back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16 appearances in 1991 and 1992. After a season as an assistant at the University of Mississippi, he returned to OSU prior to the 1993-94 academic year.
He served 13 years as an assistant for his father, a period in which the Cowboys made two trips to the Final Four. He was named head coach designate in May 2004.
Holder said OSU would begin an immediate national search for a new coach.