Coach Tom Izzo has been an instrumental part of Michigan State basketball since he became an assistant in 1983. Since he has taken the head-coaching job in 1995, he has taken the program to new heights. With six final fours since 1999, it is impossible to downplay Coach Izzo’s success. He is truly one of the elite coaches in the game today. Regardless of all this, his status as an all-time coaching legend in college basketball is far from assured.
It does seem a little preposterous to say Coach Izzo needs to win more. He does have a .710 winning percentage. Coach Izzo doesn’t need to increase his wins, get to more Final
Fours, or even win more Big Ten Championships, to cement himself as an all-time legend. What Coach Izzo truly needs to put him in the elite class of coaches all time, is win another championship. Understand, if Coach Izzo retired tomorrow he would probably rank anywhere from ten to twenty in the best coaches of all time. The one thing that separates Roy Williams from Coach Izzo, for example, is the number of championships he’s won. It’s that simple. A lot of great coaches have won one national championship. Coach Izzo will always be remembered at Michigan State, that’s a given. Around the nation, it would be much easier to forget about him once he retires, if he only has one national championship to his name. To be remembered with Adolph Rupp, John Wooden, and Bob Knight in the upper echelon of coaches all time, at least one more national championship is needed.
Coach Izzo is only 57, so he has plenty of time to get that evasive second national championship. Whether he wins another championship or not, he’ll always be remembered at Michigan State. To be remembered in coaching folklore though, another national championship is necessary. As Michigan State fans everywhere root for the Spartans to win another national championship, they are rooting for the legacy of Coach Izzo as well.