Eddie Sutton is coming out of retirement to replace Jessie Evans as San Francisco's basketball coach and will have a shot at 800 wins after all.

San Francisco announced last night that Evans was taking "a leave of absence" for the rest of the season and that Sutton, 71, would take over the Dons on an interim basis.

"Coach Jessie Evans has requested a leave of absence for the remainder of the basketball season," second-year USF athletic director Debra Gore-Mann said in a statement.

Sutton's first game will be tomorrow night at Weber State.

Sutton retired as Oklahoma State's coach after the 2005-06 season. He has 798 victories in 36 seasons as a Division I coach at Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.

When his victories at Tulsa Central High School and the College of Southern Idaho are included, Sutton won 1,000 games before retiring from coaching in May 2006. His retirement came about 3 months after a drunken-driving accident caused him to miss the Cowboys' final 10 games of the 2005-06 season. Sutton pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated drunken driving and two other charges following the February 2006 car accident.

Sutton reached the Final Four with Arkansas in 1978 and with Oklahoma State in 1995 and 2004. He ranks fifth on the all-time list for victories among Division I coaches, trailing Texas Tech's Bob Knight (896), Dean Smith (North Carolina, 879), Adolph Rupp (Kentucky, 876) and Jim Phelan (Mount St. Mary's, Md., 830).


* Texas Tech coach Bob Knight was reprimanded by the Big 12 for comments he made about officiating after a loss to New Mexico on Dec. 15. Knight argued that Lobos freshman Dairese Gary's one-handed 47-footer in New Mexico's 80-63 victory came after the halftime buzzer. *