Using a soft voice and a careful choice of words, Sean Sutton finally spoke Monday of the head-coaching job he wasn't yet ready to assume.
The head-coach designate of Oklahoma State took over the No. 1 seat Monday after his father, Eddie, took a leave of absence for the rest of the season following a Friday car accident.
Besides lingering pain, Eddie Sutton is OK, according to those who spoke with him Monday. But with speculation - some negative - about how the accident happened, the events before Monday's 64-49 loss to Kansas University made Oklahoma State a little less sturdy than usual.
"It was a tough day because of the emotions of what transpired," the younger Sutton said. ": There was a lot of hurt in that locker room tonight."
Eddie Sutton was involved in a two-vehicle accident Friday as he was en route to the airport to board a flight for College Station, Texas. According to Stillwater police reports, a witness described Eddie Sutton as having a "fruity" smell on his breath when his vehicle was approached. The same witness reported seeing next to Sutton a prescription bottle of hydrocodone, which is a narcotic analgesic related to Codeine used for relieving pain.
Witnesses also said Sutton was confused and angry when asked questions on the scene.
Stillwater police charged Sutton with operating left-of-center in a marked zone and speeding and cited him for driving under the influence - a crime that could stem from alcohol or prescription drugs.
Sutton wasn't jailed for DUI because of lack of evidence. If police find reason to charge him, it wouldn't be until blood tests return several weeks from now.
OSU announced Monday morning, just before the police report went public, that Sutton was taking a leave of absence for the rest of the season. Sutton cited his "physical condition and other issues" as his reason to leave, though he said he had been experiencing severe back pain even before the accident.
"The last two years, it's been a struggle," Sean Sutton said. "Hopefully he'll have some time here to heal up, get some rest and get better."
With the news less than 12 hours old, the Cowboys took the floor Monday night and again struggled offensively. They've scored just 93 points the last two games and Monday had three times as many turnovers as assists.
OSU forward Mario Boggans, who had 13 points and eight rebounds, refused to believe a change at the helm had anything to do with it.
"Basically it's the same style," Boggan said, "but it's a different attitude. He kind of wants us to execute and do the things he went over. He had a great scouting report tonight."
The execution, Boggan said, was where it went wrong. Oklahoma State hit just one of 13 three-point attempts, and was outrebounded 43-27 by the surging Jayhawks.
Sean Sutton is pleading for his players to stay positive as his team struggles and his father heals at home. But he realizes that it's easier said than done.
"This is not fair for them," Sutton said. "But life is not fair sometimes."