Last month one of Denver’s Summit League rivals Oral Roberts University gave their popular coach, Scott Sutton, the boot after two frustrating seasons (14-17, 8-22). The coach learned of his dismissal on social media while attending his daughter’s tennis match.
An 8-year assistant from Baylor, Paul Mills, was named to replace Coach Sutton in Tulsa.
The administration reportedly wanted 18-year head coach Scott Sutton to fire his brother Shawn, an assistant coach for ORU, and coach one more lame-duck year. Numerous reports had new ORU president, Billy Wilson, putting pressure on the program to perform a Christian litmus test on incoming freshman. While that is not unusual considering the private school’s founding by televangelist Oral Roberts, it was the restrictions placed on tattoos that may have led to the program’s eventual demise.
Basketball analyst Doug Gottlieb jumped in to defend the popular coach.
While no recent photos can be found of tattooed players on recent ORU squads, Dr. Wilson denied a formal tattoo ban/policy. Still, it’s hard to believe that it’s a coincidence that none of the current ORU basketball players could be seen with tattoos in an era where basketball ink is prolific.
The president denied that a faith scorecard hurt recruiting and on-court performance but did say the 4-part ‘Whole Person Evaluation‘ was weighted 25% based on spirituality – along with academics, social skills, and athletics.
School President Billy Wilson professed ‘love’ for Coach Sutton at a hastily called press conference. But added, “the best way to represent God was by winning.”