In 1955, on January 30th, a baby was born who would later become the coach of East Lansing’s own Michigan State Spartans men’s basketball team. Tom Izzo has been head coach of the Spartans for 18 years.
During his time with the Spartans, Izzo has certainly shown that he can pull together a team that is a force to be reckoned with. He has won eight National Coach of the Year Awards, taken his guys to 15 straight NCAA basketball tournaments, produced 13 NBA draft picks, and graduated 80% of his players completing their college eligibility. He is also the longest-standing active Big Ten coach. The Spartans, under Izzo’s guidance, have made it to the Final Four six times in a 12 year span (between 1999 and 2010). His career record is 412-169.
Beyond that, here is a look at a few of his more famous quotes from over the year.
I’m not a record guy. I don’t need to win 700 games, I don’t need to have 20 straight 20-win seasons … and I don’t need to get in the NCAA tournament every year if we’re not worthy of being in it. If we’re not playing good enough or we can’t win a game, it just doesn’t turn me on.”
“If you play hard, good things happen to you. And that kid plays hard.”
“The common battle cry is that it all evens out. It will never even out because you never know which years certain teams are good.”
The “Izzone” holds about 3,000 fans – and these fans get wild. It’s certainly a home court advantage, and the students who sit there often will go out to support other teams as well. In order to celebrate Izzo’s birthday, let’s hope that Michigan State will win the face-off tomorrow at home against Illinois. Go Green! Go White! And Happy Birthday, Tom Izzo!