May 27, 1927 |
Harvey, North Dakota
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|West Valley HS (WA)
Washington State (assistant)
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2009
George Melvin "Jud" Heathcote (born May 27, 1927) is a former American basketball player and coach. He was a college basketball head coach for 24 seasons: five at the University of Montana (1971–1976) and 19 at Michigan State University (1976–1995). Heathcote coached Magic Johnson during his two years at Michigan State, including the 1979 National Championship season.
Heathcote was born in Harvey, North Dakota, to Marion Grant Heathcote and Fawn (Walsh) Heathcote. Two years after his father died in a 1930 diphtheria epidemic, he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Manchester, Washington, and lived there for the rest of his childhood.
The stint at Montana was the first for Heathcote as head coach of a college varsity program. Previously, he had coached at West Valley High School in Spokane, Washington for 14 seasons, and at Washington State University for seven years, five seasons as freshman coach and two seasons as frosh-varsity coach.
Heathcote was then hired by Joseph Kearney to take on the head basketball coaching job at Michigan State in 1976 and began the most successful phase of his coaching career. In his third season at Michigan State, Heathcote guided the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA Championship. The Spartans, led by Magic Johnson, defeated the Larry Bird-led Indiana State Sycamores in the title game.
In his 19 years at Michigan State, the Spartans made nine NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournaments and three National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances. As a coach, Heathcote was particularly noted for his excellent defensive strategies on the court and was second to none in blocking the opposing team from penetrating to the hoop. Heathcote retired after the 1994-95 season, having won 418 games and lost 275, for a .603 winning percentage. He was succeeded by Tom Izzo, an associate head coach under Heathcote for Heathcote's final five seasons.
After retiring from coaching, Heathcote returned to Spokane, where he still lives. He played handball until well into his seventies, and continues to play recreational golf. While Heathcote continues to follow Michigan State during the college season, his primary basketball interest is now the local Gonzaga University; he attends all Bulldogs home games, and has a monthly lunch with head coach Mark Few.
Several of Heathcote's former assistants and players went onto successful head coaching jobs including:
- Tom Izzo, Michigan State
- Scott Skiles, Milwaukee Bucks
- Stan Joplin, Toledo
- Jim Brandenburg, Wyoming
- Mike Montgomery, Montana, Stanford, California
- Don Monson, Idaho, Oregon
- Mark Montgomery, Northern Illinois
- Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech
- Tom Crean, Marquette, Indiana
Head coaching record
|Montana Grizzlies (Big Sky Conference) (1971–1976)|
|1974–75||Montana||21–8||13–1||1st||NCAA Regional Fourth Place|
|Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten Conference) (1976–1995)|
|1977–78||Michigan State||25–5||15–3||1st||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1978–79||Michigan State||26–6||13–5||1st||NCAA Champions|
|1982–83||Michigan State||17–13||9–9||T–6th||NIT Second Round|
|1984–85||Michigan State||19–10||10–8||T–5th||NCAA First Round|
|1985–86||Michigan State||23–8||12–6||3rd||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1988–89||Michigan State||18–15||6–12||T–8th||NIT Semifinal|
|1989–90||Michigan State||28–6||15–3||1st||NCAA Sweet Sixteen|
|1990–91||Michigan State||19–11||11–7||T–3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|1991–92||Michigan State||22–8||11–7||T–3rd||NCAA Second Round|
|1992–93||Michigan State||15–13||7–11||T–8th||NIT First Round|
|1993–94||Michigan State||20–12||10–8||T–4th||NCAA Second Round|
|1994–95||Michigan State||22–6||14–4||2nd||NCAA First Round|
- Medcalf, Myron (May 29, 2014). "What happens after coaching?". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
- Autobiography: Heathcote, Jud; Ebling, Jack (October 7, 1995). Jud : A Magical Journey. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Publishing. ISBN 1-57167-016-5.