Why Tom Izzo Makes The Big Ten Green With Envy
Coach Izzo is what they call a "lifer". He has had offers to leave Michigan State for supposed "better" offers in the NCAA and the NBA. Most recently, Izzo had been offered the Cleveland Cavaliers coaching position in 2010. But, he has been with the Michigan State Spartan basketball program since 1983, with only a short tenure of two months elsewhere. Izzo has served as Head Coach at MSU since 1995, serving as the longest tenured coach in the Big 10.
CULTURE OF WINNING
Coach Izzo has created a culture of winning at Michigan State. With the 2000 National Championship win, 2009 National Championship title game, 6 Final Fours, 7 Big Ten Championships, there is no one inside or outside the Big Ten that would not consider Michigan state basketball one of the top in the country. Year in and year out Izzo makes his team a team of contenders.
TOUGH MATCH-UPS EARLY
Izzo took a risk early in his coaching career at MSU and started the season playing some of the top programs in the country. Placed his team in the top tournaments, against some of the best programs in the NCAA. While they have not always come out on top of those match-ups, it has set the team up to know what to expect, what they need to work on, what they need to prepare for as the season continues and the NCAA tournament begins.
As a die hard Michigan state fan, I don't believe I have ever heard Coach Izzo say a bad word of another player or another coach. Ever. Spartan players do not play a dirty game either. Off the court if there are issues that cannot be resolved, Izzo kicks them off the team. Izzo works his players hard, while teaching them that hard work pays off. Izzo's players have gone on to play in the NBA, but many have also joined the coaching ranks, with many former players now serving as assistant Coaches and Head Coaches in the NBA.
Izzo was also a leader in creating the "Veterans Day" NCAA events, with the Athletic Director at MSU. This event last year on one of the Navy Ships was such a unbelievable spectacle. President and Mrs. Obama were in attendance-watching it was amazing. This year, there were multiple events, although some did not go off due to weather, but the respect for our military, and how Michigan State and Coach Izzo can have a positive impact on a day like Veterans Day is just another way that Izzo stands apart.
Finding a good coach is a challenge. Finding a good coach, that understands and believes in the school culture is even harder. Once you have found that Coach, keeping him or her is almost impossible. Coach Izzo continues to achieve the impossible. We can't wait to see what he does next.