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“Eddie”: Five Takeaways From The UK Stuff

ESPN premiered the tell-all documentary on Hall of Fame head coach Eddie Sutton last night and it was great. “Eddie” pulls back the curtain to reveal Sutton’s complicated life and career, including his four troubled seasons at Kentucky. We also see his crowning achievements in basketball at Arkansas, Oklahoma State and beyond, as well as his handling of the lowest of lows, the 2001 plane crash that took the lives of 10 members of his Oklahoma State basketball program.

You should watch the entire two-hour documentary because it’s a very open and honest look at Sutton the coach and person, the good and bad. For now, I’ll share with you my five takeaways from the Kentucky portion:


Kentucky Dunks and mustaches.

We’ll begin with my favorite part of the video: “Times are changing at Kentucky. Players are wearing a new brand of shoe, roughly akin to the Michael Jordan model. And they can wear mustaches.”


Was Roger Harden the best PG ever?

Harden’s time in the UK backcourt predates my UK fandom, so I know very little about his career. I do know he was Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana before coming to Lexington and he now ranks third on the program’s all-time assists list, but as for actually seeing him play, these eyeballs haven’t witnessed much.

Then “Eddie” showed clips of Harden throwing no-look, over-the-head and behind-the-back passes for open dunks, and it made him look like Pistol Pete. It was only four or five highlights mixed in here and there, but I’m impressed. When’s the Roger Harden documentary?


The documentary didn’t hide the worst of Coach Sutton’s battles with alcohol.

Jerry Tipton shared a rumor of Sutton’s DUI cover-up. Rob Bromley passed along the time he heard Sutton fell face first on concrete while walking into the arena. Then the most surprising, to me, was when Rex Chapman said, “I’ve never told anybody this, but most of my freshman year he was drunk.”

Chapman recalled the big win at Louisville in 1986 (when King Rex scored 26 points in Freedom Hall) and said Sutton was drunk in the postgame press conference when he hugged Chapman in front of reporters.

Sutton’s long struggle with alcohol was well-known, but Chapman’s own experiences were told for the first time in “Eddie.”

Then came the turnaround before the next season. “He picked himself up and dusted himself off, and he was sober. And it was great.” Chapman doesn’t think Sutton had a drop of alcohol during the 1987-88 season.


Show us the boosters’ faces!

Of course, the Emory package scandal made its way into the documentary. The boosters are to blame, we’re told once again.



Sutton’s resignation from Kentucky was announced in the WKYT newsroom? 

Different times. Can you imagine John Calipari preparing his resignation from Kentucky as someone drives him over to WKYT so he can announce it from Dave Baker’s desk?

A couple clips from Sutton’s resignation, as seen in “Eddie”…


Watch “Eddie” in its entirety here.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

12 Comments for “Eddie”: Five Takeaways From The UK Stuff

  1. UKinIN
    10:06 am June 30, 2020 Permalink

    I’m sure Kenny Walker was responsible for turning a lot of those Harden passes into assists.

  2. Bluehender
    10:08 am June 30, 2020 Permalink

    I watched it. It was very well done. And Roger Harden was very good, Drew. And Eddie Sutton was an excellent coach when he was sober. You have to feel for Sean Sutton if you have any feelings at all.

  3. ThankfulCat
    10:19 am June 30, 2020 Permalink

    I thought it was very well done. For all the reports before it was aired about Rex throwing Eddie under the bus, it’s just not true. Rex was very forthcoming and real. Then when he shared his own addiction issue toward the end, it made it even more real.
    RIP Coach

  4. UKFanSC
    11:37 am June 30, 2020 Permalink

    I was around for every on of Harden’s games, and he was a good (not at all great ) PG. His senior year was particularly good. He was turnover prone and struggled defensively at times. I’d put him above Teague but below Turner.

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      12:10 pm June 30, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t remember his defense, but Harden was GREAT his senior year IMO. You may very well know Xs and Os better than me. But Harden not only broke, but shattered, the single season assist record. I know he had SkyWalker, but Minniefield had Turpin and Bowie and company, and Macy had tons of talented players around him.

    • UKFanSC
      1:19 pm June 30, 2020 Permalink

      I’m with ya….. his senior year was his best. I can remember a lot of turnovers in his first few seasons, but his senior year was great. Not trying to demean him at all. Just reacting to Drews provocative question as to whether he was the best point guard in the programs history. In my humble opinion he was not.

  5. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    11:53 am June 30, 2020 Permalink

    I met a sportswriter once who is a family member of a friend. He had worked in Arkansas at one time and said he never was around Sutton when he didn’t have alcohol on his breath. He told me this while Sutton was at UK and it wasn’t well known amongst Cat fans, as far as I know anyway. I haven’t lived there in ages so maybe it was known around Lexington, but I don’t recall ever reading about it in The Cats’ Pause until after he was gone. However, I had not started subscribing until after his first year at UK I believe. I met a guy who happened to be a Cat fan and he asked me if I subscribed to TCP, and I didn’t even know about it.

    I miss Oscar and his columns! And on the radio! Boo iHeart or UK Network or whoever fired him!

    • chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
      11:56 am June 30, 2020 Permalink

      I forgot, I didn’t say any of that to pile on. I’m glad he apparently overcame his alcohol problem.

      One question: if the boosters “pictured” above were responsible for the recruiting scandal, how did Dwayne Casey’s name wind up on that Emery package? The only thing I know for sure is, as millions of us have said, those things do NOT pop open. They just don’t.

    • CrystalBall
      4:55 pm June 30, 2020 Permalink

      Right Chris. Emory has a team of lawyers who regularly prove, in court, that their envelopes do not “pop open”.

  6. itsfootballtimeinthebluegrass
    1:16 pm June 30, 2020 Permalink

    A real reminder of how awful fans can be

  7. Wilfred Smith
    6:44 pm June 30, 2020 Permalink

    I’ll stay positive…

    He recruited a TON of talent to Lexington…

    Pittman (Prop 48, never played)

    That’s just the cream. He also had quality “pieces” like Hanson and The Unforgettables.

  8. sprtphan
    9:39 pm June 30, 2020 Permalink

    Awesome documentary.