Suitts leaves WSN boys basketball, returns to college

Published 10:02 am Monday, September 29, 2008

By By Adam Robinson – Sports Editor
After just one season with the W.S. Neal High School Eagle basketball team, head coach Tommy Suitts has retired from the school and from the state of Alabama and is now an assistant coach with Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau, MO.The long-time veteran basketball coach who has coached for nearly 40 years with stints at Rice University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, North Alabama, Minor High School, Dora High School and Clay-Chalkville before coming to W.S. Neal for the 2007-2008 season led the Eagles to a 4-20 record last season and helped the Eagles end a 30-game losing streak on the court with a 41-30 win over Excel High School last season. The only previous wins for the Eagle basketball teams were two forfeit wins from Escambia County High School.
The 60-year-old Suitts, who played at Alabama, said he always wanted to return to the college level of basketball and this was a chance he could not let go.
W.S. Neal athletic director and head football coach Blaine Hathcock knew Suitts when they coached against each other and were in the same area in North Alabama.
Suitts will join a Red Hawk basketball team under the leadership of Scott Edgar.
“Coach Suitts is an outstanding addition to our coaching staff,” Southeast head coach Edgar said. “I have known him for close to 30 years and consider him a great friend who is loyal and trust worthy. Coach Suitts is a tremendous coach with 40 years coaching experience including 17 at the collegiate level and nine as a collegiate head coach. Coach Suitts is very familiar with the basketball tradition at Southeast Missouri State, having served as an assistant coach at North Alabama when they won the Division II national championship in 1979. He has an overall record of 505-364 as a collegiate assistant and head coach.”
Suitts began his collegiate coaching career in 1974 as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Alabama. He was an assistant for two years under legendary coach C.M. Newton and helped the Crimson Tide to two Southeastern Conference titles. Suitts spent four seasons as an assistant and chief recruiter at North Alabama and helped the Lions to three Division II final four appearances. From there, Suitts became an assistant coach at Rice in 1979 and moved up to head coach in 1981.
From 1987 to 1990, Suitts served as the head coach at Chicago State. Suitts returned to high school coaching in 1992 and has served as head coach at six high schools. His 1992-93 team at Westbury Christian School in Houston, Texas, was the No. 1 ranked private school in the greater Houston area with a record of 29-4. “Coach Suitts will work in all areas of our program along with coaches Rodney Hamilton and Zac Roman,” Edgar said. “He will focus on administrative duties and his vast experience will be invaluable to our program.”

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