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Posted: April 12, 2017

ORU holds news conference to address decision to fire Sutton

scott sutton
scott sutton

News | KOKI

TULSA, Okla. —

Quick facts:

  • ORU announced the release of head men's basketball coach Scott Sutton.
  • Sutton was with the school 18 seasons.
  • The school is searching for a new coach.

Oral Roberts University announced that their head basketball coach will not return to the university after 18 seasons.

Athletic Director Mike Carter announced the release of Scott Sutton as the university's head men's basketball coach Monday.

"We appreciate Scott's outstanding record, his loyalty and his long term service to the University," said Carter. "He will forever be a part of our great history. We love Scott and his family and wish him the very best."

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Carter also named assistant coach Rodney Perry as University's interim head coach. He said the search is underway for a full-time replacement.

"We are grateful that we have such a quality young coach to assume the reigns at this time," said Carter. "We are excited about the future of this program."

Sutton is the school's all-time winningest basketball coach.

He released a statement Monday night:

“For the last 22 years, I’ve been honored to be a part of Oral Roberts University. My 18 years as head coach will always be some of my fondest memories. While I’m proud of our wins, conference championships, and postseason tournament appearances, what I’ll cherish the most are the relationships we built and the impact we made on the hundreds of players who came through our program over the years. While today’s events have been difficult, I choose to focus on the many successful years we enjoyed at ORU.”

Rumors on the web raised questions about events surrounding Sutton's release.

In a news conference Wednesday, university president Billy Wilson addressed some of those rumors, stating that the university does not have a tattoo policy for players and that athletes at the university are not subject to a faith test.

He did say, however, that the athletics department had developed a "Whole Person Champion Evaluation," which included faith, but that recruits who did not score high in any individual area were still considered. University officials say they prefer to have the core members of the team practice Christianity.

Wilson also said that Sutton was not made aware of his release through social media, though some of his family members appeared to have learned about it through the web.

WATCH: The university's news conference concerning Sutton's release Wednesday:

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