FAYETTEVILLE – Still mourning last Saturday’s death of former Arkansas Basketball Coach Eddie Sutton in Tulsa, Razorbacks who played for Eddie Sutton from 1981-1984 were shocked at teammate Leroy Sutton’s death Tuesday in North Little Rock.
Eddie Sutton, 84, had suffered ill health for years from a series of strokes.
Leroy Sutton, no relation to Eddie and a native of South Bend, Ind., died unexpectedly at 59. Sunday Leroy Sutton had tweeted condolences about his coach’s death.
“A tough week gets tougher as we lost “Sweet” Leroy Sutton,” Darrell Walker, former Razorbacks All-American and current coach of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, tweeted. “One of my greatest Razorback teammates. RIP my friend and enjoy the reunion with coach.”
Joe Kleine, the star center on the last three teams that Leroy Sutton played, tweeted: He had an infectious smile and laugh. He always looked so good in anything he wore and walked with a strut, “Sweet” Leroy Sutton! If he is not in heaven, no one is going! Coach must have needed a great Christian and human being to start his team in heaven. RIP!”
Leroy Sutton was recruited as a high-scoring forward in South Bend but under Eddie Sutton molded into a smothering defensive forward and offensive garbage man inside tallying on tip-ins and point blank shots to lead the team in field goal percentage.
Defensively, Eddie Sutton said Jimmy Counce, playing for his 1974-78 Razorbacks teams, and Leroy Sutton were the best defensive forwards in his 11 years coaching Arkansas.
Though among the gentlest of Razorbacks off the court and the minister of music at the Full Counsel Christian Fellowship Church in North Little, Leroy Sutton broke Eddie Sutton’s nose during a Razorbacks practice. It was inadvertent of course, Leroy colliding with his coach while pursuing a loose ball.
Eddie Sutton rushed the immediate training room treatment of his bleeding broken nose to return to the practice to show Leroy Sutton he was OK.