STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – There’s a new force in the fight against cancer, and the legacy of a beloved Oklahoma State University basketball icon is leading the charge.

Oklahoma State University administrators announced Saturday the Eddie Sutton Foundation, established to raise funds in the fight against cancer.

The foundation, named after the legendary OSU men’s basketball coach, will focus on cancer research, with a special emphasis on pediatric cancer. It will also work to better the lives of those battling cancer.

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Eddie Sutton on the sidelines. Photo provided by OSU.

The foundation honors the life and legacy of Sutton, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020. Sutton died on May 23, 2020. OSU announced the foundation on Sutton’s birthday. He was born March 12, 1936.

“The Sutton family is honored and humbled by the creation of the Eddie Sutton Foundation, which will make it their mission to continue the fight against cancer,” said Kim Sutton, wife of Scott Sutton and daughter-in-law of the late Eddie Sutton. “Coach Sutton was instrumental in bringing Coaches versus Cancer to the OSU campus. He cherished the opportunity to help people and considered the people of Oklahoma State his family, so bringing the two entities together is the perfect way to honor him. He would be so proud to know that he is a part of such a wonderful cause.”

OSU’s Coaches vs. Cancer program – a national partnership between the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society – is being renamed Cowboys vs. Cancer. The program will function under the Eddie Sutton Foundation, encompass all OSU sports and align with reputable cancer research foundations as well as the American Cancer Society.

“Starting during Eddie Sutton’s time as our basketball coach, OSU Cowboys vs. Cancer has grown into one of the very best things we do at OSU Athletics,” said OSU Athletic Director Chad Weiberg. “Our student-athletes have embraced their unique and special platform to support those fighting cancer, especially the kids. While most programs across the country focus on only men’s basketball, we at OSU have expanded to include all sports. Coaches, staff and former players from all our sports are devoted to raising funds to support cancer research and families going through the fight. The creation of the Eddie Sutton Foundation makes that expansion official. We look forward to growing our support of local and OSU families in the fight against cancer.”

Mike Boynton, OSU’s current men’s basketball coach, said he is excited about the possibilities the foundation brings.

“I am thrilled about the announcement of the Eddie Sutton Foundation,” Boynton said. “Coach Sutton, along with his good friend Norm Stewart, are a few of the pioneers for the existence of the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative. Coach Sutton’s early efforts have led directly to the involvement of many coaches across the country. That involvement has triggered several other initiatives where money for cancer research and treatment is being raised. 

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Eddie Sutton in victory. Photo provided by OSU.

“Coach is also clearly the reason that we at OSU have worked to make a major impact. It is fitting that, on his birthday, we are making this announcement because ‘Coach’ deserves to be celebrated forever. I look forward to being heavily involved in the efforts to make this foundation one of the linchpins of the fight against the terrible disease.” 

The foundation will carry on Sutton’s legacy, according to Dave Hunziker, Cowboys vs. Cancer spokesman and radio voice for Cowboy football and basketball.

“The establishment of the Eddie Sutton Foundation ensures that coach Sutton’s legacy of helping those in need will continue for decades to come,” Hunziker said. “Coach Sutton was committed to the fight against cancer and that fight will continue at Oklahoma State University through this new foundation in his name.”

Sutton’s three principles – defense, dedication and discipline – are at the heart of the foundation’s mission.

Research is regarded as the best defense against cancer, and the foundation is dedicated to the cause and to the families that will be helped by cancer research, OSU officials said.

“Discipline is a must for this new team to stay the course and implement a full-court press that will lead to a cure,” OSU officials said.

Major fundraisers will be held for the foundation, with Cowboys vs. Cancer Cowboy Classic serving as the first. Team spots and sponsorships are available.

Cowboys vs. Cancer Cowboy Classic will be May 9 at Stillwater Country Club and feature an elite list of celebrity golfers, as well as a visit from a special group of cancer survivors.

“These celebrities will be auctioned off to join your team as you play the beautiful Stillwater Country Club course. Whether you are a fan of the game, a fan of the university or playing in honor/memory of someone, the CvC Cowboy Classic is a great event with a great cause,” OSU officials said.

Visit TheEddieSuttonFoundation.com for more information about the foundation and how to donate.