Bud Walton Arena has a new banner in the rafters, one that simply reads, “Head Coach Eddie Sutton.”
Sutton, 79, was honored at halftime of Arkansas’ game Saturday against Missouri amid fans cheering his name.
During 11 seasons as the Razorbacks’ coach, Sutton won 260 games and made nine NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the 1978 Final Four.
“Believe me, there’s no one that loves Arkansas more than I do,” said Sutton, who took the floor in a wheelchair.
Never miss a local story.
Sutton, who was the first coach in college basketball history to take four different schools to the NCAA Tournament, had the highest win percentage in Southwest Conference history during his tenure with the Razorbacks.
Sutton’s family and a slew of former players were on hand and surrounded him during the halftime ceremony, which included a special video message from former President Clinton.
“I am really sorry I can’t be there tonight,” said President Clinton, who also served as governor of Arkansas. “Your time as coach was a defining era of Arkansas basketball.”
He continued, “On this special night for you, I join all Razorback fans, especially those who are proud to call you a friend, in saying thanks.”
Sutton, who was born in Bucklin, Kan., in 1936 and turns 80 next month, went 806-326 in 36 seasons as a head coach, including stints at Southern Idaho (1966-69), Creighton (1969-74), Arkansas (1974-85), Kentucky (1985-89) and Oklahoma State (1990-2006).
He also served as the interim coach at San Francisco in 2007-08.
Sutton’s teams reached the Final Four three times, including 1995 and 2004 at Oklahoma State. He won conference and regular-season championships in the Southwest Conference, Southeastern Conference, Big Eight and Big 12.
He was chosen as the Associated Press coach of the year in 1978 and 1986, when he also won the National Association of Basketball Coaches coach of the year honor.
There was another ceremony Saturday as well.
Arkansas officially was presented with the Battle Line Rivalry trophy during a first-half timeout.
The monstrous new trophy, which debuted for the 2015 football season, is awarded annually to winner of the Tigers-Razorbacks football game.
Arkansas beat Missouri 28-3 on Nov. 27 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
The loss ended the Tigers’ season at 5-7 and brought former coach Gary Pinkel’s career to a close.
Razorbacks defensive coordinator Robb Smith accepted the trophy. Head coach Bret Bielema wasn’t present for the presentation.