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Coach Sutton: Joe Hall is a heck of a basketball coach. I've admired him for years and years. The other night at the banquet on Sunday evening he walked by, and I was up there when he got his award, and he leaned over and he said, 'I was hoping that you would be our next coach.' So, that's very rewarding. I think Joe and I will be very close friends as we have always been.
It's been said that you and former coach Hall have a different style in teaching techniques. How do you think the fans here at Kentucky will adapt to your style of play?
Coach Sutton: If you win they don't care how you play the game. That's the bottom line -- we're going to try to win. But I don't think our philosophies are that much different. We believe in discipline, getting players to play the game with great enthusiasm and intensity and we believe in strong defense. In any team sport, if you're going to win for over a long period of time you'd better play good solid defense. Joe may have played more zone than we would have played because we're primarily a man-to-man defensive ballclub. But we'll play zone at some times.
Will the 45-second clock change your defensive philosophy?
Coach Sutton: Not at all. If you can't get a shot in 45 seconds then you're in trouble. The only time the 45-second clock would come into play would be late in the ballgame if you wanted to go into some kind of control game. But there's no doubt in my mind that the 45-second clock will come into college basketball next year. That won't alter our philosophy. The only time our clock has gone off in two years -- we've played with the 45-second clock for the last four years on an experimental basis -- was against Houston. That's hard to believe because they want a transition game; they run it up and down the floor. I don't think our philosophies are that much different from what you've seen here in the last few years at the University of Kentucky.
Blue-White scrimmages throughout the state -- will that still be a part of Kentucky basketball?
Coach Sutton: We do that at Arkansas (intrasquad scrimmages). I think those are good. The Blue-White games, I think you need to do that. There are a lot of people that can't get into Rupp Arena and that's the only opportunity they get to see the ballclub in person. So I think that's a good idea.
When was the first time that you ever came in contact with University of Kentucky basketball?
Coach Sutton: I grew up in western Kansas. Mr. (Phog) Allen at Kansas, Mr. Rupp at Kentucky and Mr. Iba at Oklahoma A&M at that time, I can remember listening, I said, I think all my life I have grown to the point that this is where I belong. This is where I want to be. That was many years ago, I'm 49 years old.
Do you feel like you're jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire as Arkansas also has some pretty avid fans?
Coach Sutton: They'll like me (UK fans) until we lose our first ballgame (Sutton smiles).
Mr. Hagan, when was coach Sutton offered the job and when did he accept?
Hagan: We interviewed Coach Sutton yesterday (Monday) for the first time and offered him the job last night?
Mr. Hagan, how many people were offered the job?
Hagan: I don't care to answer that.
Why did you pick Eddie?
Hagan: Why Eddie? I think his record speaks for itself. We screened quite a few coaches. Some eliminated themselves. Eddie's name was on our list from the start in the same way with football (Jerry Claiborne). We didn't get an interview with Jerry until the end. We wanted to get some things out of the way; some people out of the way. We wanted to get some things known and learned and the same thing happened in this case. We saved the best until last.
Mrs. Sutton's First Impressions
Mrs. Patsy Sutton's reaction to coming to Kentucky: I'm excited. My children are excited. The one thing I would like to say is that Sean Patrick Sutton, who is 16 years old, is a fine, fine basketball player and about six months ago he told us that he was going to Kentucky and we thought he was kidding. He said, "I'm serious, if they call, I'm going." And so, when Cliff Hagan called Eddie, Eddie said, "Sean, you're right." So, we're excited.
Mrs. Sutton's first impression of Lexington: It's a beautiful city and
about the right size. I really like the size.
Her views on the Final Four in Lexington: The atmosphere was wonderfully festive and very hospitable. All Final Fours are exciting and different, but this one had a very special flavor. It was fun.
Mrs. Sutton's feelings on leaving 1 Arkansas: Our 14-year-old said "Kentucky is the only place you could go that I wouldn't be really mad." That sorta sums it up. The 20-year-old said it would be wonderful and our 16-year-old thinks it is exciting and we think it's exciting.
It's been said that coach Hall had 328 tickets. What about your allotment?
Coach Sutton: I don't even care about tickets. I stay out of that ticket business. I'll tell you what, we found out at Arkansas that that's a problem. So I don't care about any tickets.
Will there be anything that you would do differendy here at Kentucky in relation to something at Arkansas?
Coach Sutton: I would coach the game the same whether I would be at Arkansas, Kentucky or Rhode Island. I would coach the game the same.
What about the traditional things here at Kentucky -,- for instance the
Coach Sutton, would you have been disappointed if they had filled the position with someone else?
Coach Sutton: I don't think so. I had a great job at the University of Arkansas. We built a great program there. But I wouldn't have been disappointed if Cliff had hired some of the other people that he interviewed because they were all quality coaches.
How closely were you keeping up with the hiring process for Kentucky's 19th coach?
Coach Sutton: All I knew is what you guys and gals (media) write about. That's the only thing I knew about the job.
UK Officials' Comments On Sutton
The following are quotes from various people associated with the University of Kentucky about the" appointment of UK's new basketball coach Eddie Sutton:
BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEMBER GEORGE GRIFFIN
What about Eddie Sutton?
Griffin: I think he's a class act and is experienced. I think he's the right man for the job at this time.
Did everything go as planned?
Griffin: Oh, I'm not sure it was planned, but I think it came out very well. I think the committee did an admirable job and I'm pleased with it.
AD HOC COMMITTEE MEMBER DR. CHARLES W. ELLTNGER
What aobut choosing Sutton as Kentucky's next head coach?
Ellinger: We were all unamious in his (Sutton's) support. I'm very pleased. I think he represented himself well today (at the announcement). It's typical of what we expected to see from him. He's had a winning tradition. This is his first year ('85
season) to have double-digets in the loss column (22-13) in his years at Arkansas.
Was it a pretty tough week for the ad-hoc committee?
Ellinger: Yes, we worked very hard. It was very enjoyable and it was an honor to be on this committee. The members respected the responsibility that was necessary. We all felt responsibility that was necessary, but at the same time I think everyone felt it was a great honor to be a part of this screening. The final word was done by this group today.
What will you remember most about this 10-day process?
Ellinger: Well, I'll look back on it as a great thrill it was for me to have been chosen by the President (Dr. Otis Singletary) to serve on the committee. One of the jokes that came about at the time was that as you know I coach the Dental School's basketball Molars. Someone commented, 'would you rather be considered for the coaching job or serve on the screening committee?' And I chose the screening committee (Ellinger laughs).
Did you check the papers every
Coach Sutton: I did that (Sutton laughs).
Mr. Hagan, how many people were considered for the UK job?
Hagan: I couldn't give you a number. We considered, I'm sure, a couple of dozen names and you read about those. The Rileys, the Issels, people that took themselves out of consideration. We considered a couple of dozen people and probably interviewed half that many. I don't know exactly how many. We feel we covered the field in an adequate length.
Was the process more or less involved than you first thought?
Hagan: I understand we had a Final Four here this weekend. It was very involved and very concentrated. We were able to get some work done that normally would have taken maybe three or four weeks. We were able to concentrate that into two or three days. It was very helpful for us for the Final Four to be going on and for all these coaches to be here at hand. It was not easy dealing with the media at that time. But it all worked to our advantage and it turned out very well.
Were you unhappy or dissatisfied with anyone or anything at Arkansas?
Coach Sutton: Not at all. The people of that state were wonderful to me and the administration was. I'll leave there and I hope they'll understand that I'm coming to Kentucky because that's a better job.
Could you discuss your relationship with Coach Iba?
Coach Sutton: He coached the Olympic team three times and was also an assistant with Bobby (Knight) this last year and he's meant so much to me. He's one of the giants to ever coach the game. I enjoyed playing with him when he helped me, along with my parents, to give me a set of values in how you ought to coach the game. Every player who played for Mr. Iba, we still call him Mr. Iba, out of respect. Jack Hartman does, Don Haskins does and anyone who has ever played there (does). I hope some day the players, if I live that long, they'll call me Mr. Sutton. He gave us a set of values that we tried to pass on to our players. I think that's what Joe's done. I think Mr. Rupp did it. Every player will be treated just like he was one of our sons. And I think that's important.
Mr. Iba, what's your reaction to Coach Sutton's hiring at the University of Kentucky?
Iba: The first thing I've got to say that this is Eddie's day and I've got no business here. But I feel like I've been connected with Kentucky a long, long time. I probably have been as close as anybody with Adolph. We went all over the country together. . .1 think I know Adolph as well as any man. Joe Hall, I knew him down at Regis. . .and I knew when Adolph brought him here and he got a good boy. Today I tell you this, you're bringing in another great coach. All you have to do is back'em. He knows the game, he knows people and he knows how to treat people.