Sutton was a standout as a player, coach, and person

OBITUARY

John Browne jbrowne@thetelegram.com
Published on October 22, 2009
Clarence Sutton

As good a teacher and coach as Clarence Sutton was, he was an even better friend, says former Memorial Sea-Hawks basketball star John Devereaux.

Sutton, 46, died Tuesday night of brain cancer.

The Trepassey native was a physical education teacher and basketball coach for over 21 years.

A one-time Sea-Hawks player (1984-85), Sutton was a three-time MVP and five-time all-star in provincial men's basketball and a three-time MVP and six-time all-star in the St. John's senior league.

As good a teacher and coach as Clarence Sutton was, he was an even better friend, says former Memorial Sea-Hawks basketball star John Devereaux.

Sutton, 46, died Tuesday night of brain cancer.

The Trepassey native was a physical education teacher and basketball coach for over 21 years.

A one-time Sea-Hawks player (1984-85), Sutton was a three-time MVP and five-time all-star in provincial men's basketball and a three-time MVP and six-time all-star in the St. John's senior league.

He both played for and coached Newfoundland and and Labrador Canada Games entries and has long been recognized as one of the best-ever high school coaches this province has ever produced. His St. Kevin's girls' team once won 125 games in a row.

"Clarence taught me in Grade 10 at Stella Maris and we became close friends over the years," explained Devereaux. "We'd travel from Trepassey to St. John's twice a week to play in the local senior league, so we got to know each other after spending a lot of time together.

"He was definitely what you'd call a players' coach. He got to know each person individually and he knew how to deal with the people on an individual basis. He had time for each and every player on the team whether you were the star or the last person on the bench. He made everyone feel a major part of the team.

"Even if you weren't talking about basketball, he was a great listener. I never heard anyone who played for Clarence having anything bad to say about him. Everyone loved him."

Devereaux described Sutton as quiet, even shy.

"But when he spoke everyone listened.," he said. "And he was very funny. He had dry sense of humour and that's what I'll remember about him,

"When I was playing with MUN, the first call I get when I got home was from Clarence telling me what I did right and what I had to work on," said Devereaux, who played for the Sea-Hawks in the 1990s. "He never missed one of my games at university and I'm sure that was the same with a lot of people he coached.

"He got a lot of support over the last few months from people he taught at Stella Maris, St. John Bosco and St. Kevin's," added Devereaux.

"He was a competitor on the floor. He didn't like to lose. But off the floor, you'd never know he was a player."

Devereaux said Sutton will be remembered as "a great teacher and player, and for passing on his love for the game."

jbrowne@thetelegram.com