FAYETTEVILLE — ESPN has picked up and will air Christopher Hunt’s excellent warts and all documentary on former Arkansas Basketball Coach Eddie Sutton.
“The making and creation of this film has been an incredible journey,” Hunt tweeted Tuesday. “Our team is so proud of what we have accomplished. It’s with great pride that today we can officially announce that we've signed a primetime deal with ESPN!!! This is literally a dream come true for me and it feels so good to finally be able to celebrate this. Thanks to everyone who has supported me and our team along the way.”
The documentary encompasses Sutton’s greatness as a coach taking Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State to 25 NCAA Tournaments including one Final Four at Arkansas, two Final Fours for Oklahoma State and one Elite Eight each for Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State and 804-328 in a career spanning from 1969 at Creighton to head coaching the University of San Francisco’s final 19 games in 2006.
It also encompasses Sutton’s problems with alcoholism at the end of his Arkansas tenure into his Kentucky tenure. He had treated it successfully going into his 16 years coaching Oklahoma State but his problems reoccured with an OSU career ending driving under the influence accident five in the years aftermath of dealing with the fatal plane crash killing all 10 aboard, including two players, support staff and pilots, returning from a road trip.
The documentary included interviews with Sutton family members, former players, and media that covered him candidly discussing Sutton’s coaching prowess and impact he made on his his players and programs and also his personal problems and their effects.
While announcing it will air the documentary titled “Eddie”, ESPN has not yet announced its air time.
Living to see his long overdue election on April 3 for previously scheduled Aug. 28 induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame now postponed because of Covid-19, Sutton died at 84 on May 23. He had long been in ill health after a series of strokes while missing his late wife, Patsy who died suddenly from an aneurysm in 2013.
Sutton was inducted in 2011 into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City.
The 2020 Naismith class also includes NBA greats Kobe Bryant, killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, NBA Coach Rudy Tomjanovich, Tennessee Lady Vols great Tamika Catchings, and women’s still coaching greats Kim Mulkey of Baylor and Barbara Stevens of Bentley University and the late Patrick Baumann, a longtime international basketball and Olympics executive.