Tom Izzo

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Tom Izzo
Tom Izzo 140507-D-HU462-339.jpg
Sport(s) Basketball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team Michigan State
Conference Big Ten
Record 514–203 (.717)
Biographical details
Born (1955-01-30) January 30, 1955 (age 61)
Iron Mountain, Michigan
Playing career
1973–1977 Northern Michigan
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977–1978 Ishpeming HS
1979–1983 Northern Michigan (assistant)
1983–1995 Michigan State (assistant)
1995–present Michigan State
Head coaching record
Overall 514–203(.717)
Accomplishments and honors
1 NCAA Division I Tournament Championship (2000)
7 NCAA Regional Championships – Final Four (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015)
7 Big Ten Regular Season Championships (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2010, 2012)
4 Big Ten Tournament Championships (1999, 2000, 2012, 2014)
9 Elite Eights (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015)
13 Sweet Sixteens (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
18 NCAA Tournament bids (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
AP College Coach of the Year (1998)
NABC Coach of the Year (2012)
Henry Iba Award (1998)
3x Big Ten Coach of the Year (1998, 2009, 2012)

Tom Izzo (/ˈɪz/, Italian pronunciation: [ˈittso]; born January 30, 1955) is an American college basketball coach. Since 1995, he has been the head coach for the Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team, presiding over a prolonged period of success.[1]

Under Izzo, the Michigan State program has been one of the most successful in the country. Izzo has led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA Division I National Championship, the 2009 NCAA Division I National Championship Game, seven Final Fours, and seven Big Ten Championships in his 20 years at Michigan State. The coach with the most wins in school history, Izzo's teams have earned invitations to the past 18 consecutive NCAA tournaments, in addition to setting the Big Ten record for the longest home winning streak. These accomplishments led analyst Andy Katz at ESPN to deem Michigan State the top college basketball program for the decade from 1998 to 2007 [2]

Currently the longest tenured coach in the Big Ten Conference, Izzo, whose teams are often recognized for their rebounding prowess and defensive tenacity, has won four national coach of the year awards and maintains a considerable coaching tree—several of his former assistants are currently head coaches at other Division I schools. Izzo is just the fifth coach in Big Ten history to win seven conference titles. His immense success during the NCAA tournament has earned Izzo the nickname "Mr. March" among active coaches.[3][4] In December, 2015, it was announced that Izzo was on the ballot for the first time for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[5]


Playing career[edit]

Izzo was born and raised in Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where he met best friend and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci. Both attended Iron Mountain High where they were teammates on the football, basketball and track teams. At Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where they were roommates, Izzo played guard for the men's basketball team from 1973 to 1977. In his senior season, he set a school record for minutes played and was named a Division II All-American.

Early coaching career[edit]

After graduating from Northern Michigan, Izzo was head coach at Ishpeming High School for one season. He then took an assistant coaching job at Northern Michigan University from 1979 to 1983. Izzo was then named a part-time assistant at Michigan State in September 1983. After a short two-month stay in 1986 as an assistant coach at University of Tulsa, Izzo returned to Michigan State when assistant Mike Deane left to become head coach at Siena College. Prior to the 1990–91 season, then-current coach Jud Heathcote elevated Izzo to associate head coach. After Heathcote's retirement following the 1994-95 season and upon both his and the Michigan State Athletic Director's recommendation, Izzo was named the new head coach of men's basketball for MSU.[6]

Head coach at Michigan State[edit]

Izzo and John Calipari, the two highest paid college coaches in 2012,[7] talk while scouting a blue chip recruit

Hired as head coach at Michigan State in 1995, Izzo is currently the longest-tenured basketball coach in the Big Ten Conference. He became the coach with the most wins in school history after winning his 341st game on November 29, 2009 to surpass Heathcote.[8] In his first two seasons as head coach, Izzo went 9–9 finishing 6th and 7th in the conference and failed to make the tournament. In 1998, MSU's record in conference improved to 13–3 and Izzo won the first of his seven regular-season Big Ten championships. 1998 also saw Michigan State begin a streak of 18 straight NCAA tournament appearances, which is the 3rd longest current streak among Division I teams. Izzo has a record of 46–17 in the NCAA Tournament. In 1999, Izzo won his first of four Big Ten Tournament titles, and went to the first of Izzo's three straight Final Four appearances, joining Krzyzewski and Ben Howland as the only three coaches who have made three consecutive Final Fours since the NCAA tournament bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. With the instate rivalry with Michigan, Izzo's official record against the Wolverines is 22–14. Although Michigan vacated 5 of their wins in the series at the start of his head coaching career, his record against them by itself remained unchanged.

In 2000, Izzo led MSU to its second NCAA national championship with an 89–76 win over the Florida Gators. Eighty-two percent of his players who completed their eligibility left MSU with a degree. Over the years, Izzo has been pursued by the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New Jersey Nets for head coaching jobs.[9][10][11] After a brief flirtation with Cleveland, on June 15, 2010, Izzo reported to the Michigan State University's Board of Trustees that he would remain head coach of Michigan State, in which he stated he was "a Spartan for life."[12]

Izzo fell short of obtaining his 2nd national championship on April 6, 2009, losing to North Carolina 89–72. His streak of three straight Final Four appearances from 1999 to 2001 is the third-longest of all time, and his six Final Four appearances in the years 1999–2010 were matched by no other team in college basketball.

In 2013, Izzo was voted as the fifth angriest coach in college basketball by USA Today Sports, an honor that he cherishes.[13]

On November 26, 2015, Izzo won his 500th career game, all with Michigan State, with a win over Boston College in the Wooden Legacy.[14] On January 28, 2016, Izzo won his 513th career game moving him into second place past Gene Keady all time for wins by a coach in the Big Ten.[15] He trails only Bob Knight.[15]

Coaching philosophy[edit]

We'll play anybody, anyplace, anytime. It doesn't matter, morning, noon or night, and it doesn't matter who it is.

Tom Izzo [16]

Izzo's teams are known for strong guard play, toughness and rebounding. Izzo is famed for his "war" rebounding drill, in which the players wear football helmets and shoulder pads.[17] His motto is "Players Play – Tough Players Win".[18] His other coaching philosophies include, "he doesn't determine playing time, players do" and "A player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team." Izzo is also known for scheduling extremely tough non-conference schedules as preparation for the NCAA tournament. This way the players have already played the top teams in the country and won't be fazed come March Madness.

High School Player Development[edit]

High School All-Americans[edit]

Sixteen High School All-Americans have played for Tom Izzo at MSU:

M = McDonald's All-Americans; P = Parade All-America Boys Basketball Team;

Mr. Basketball[edit]

Thirteen Mr. Basketball winners have played for Tom Izzo at MSU.

Mr. Basketball of Michigan[edit]




College Player Development[edit]

College All-America honors[edit]

Under Izzo, seven Spartans have earned All-America honors

All-Big Ten[edit]

Under Izzo 18 different players have earned first or second team All-Big Ten conference recognition and four have been named Player of the Year.

Big Ten Player of the Year[edit]

First Team[edit]

Second Team[edit]

Sixth Man of the Year[edit]

Freshman of the Year[edit]

NBA player development[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Since he took over as head coach, sixteen players have been selected in the NBA draft. Eight of those players have been drafted in the first round. The former players under Tom Izzo who have made the NBA are: [19]

NFL Draft[edit]

Two former Spartan basketball players have joined the National Football League after the conclusion of their college basketball careers.

NBA championships[edit]

Coaching tree[edit]

Several of Izzo's former assistants are currently head coaches at other schools:

Former Izzo assistants who were college head coaches:

Current Izzo assistants who were previously college head coaches:

USA basketball[edit]

Izzo was head coach of the USA Basketball men's team that took 4th place at the 2003 Pan American Games. Prior to that he was assistant coach of the team that had a 5–0 record and won the gold medal at the 2001 Goodwill Games. Izzo served on the Collegiate Committee of USA Basketball's 2005-2008 Quadrennium Committees.[20]

Operation Hardwood[edit]

In 2005 and 2006, Izzo participated in Operation Hardwood, in which college coaches went to Kuwait military camps to coach basketball teams of American service members. Among the other coaches were Tubby Smith, Gary Williams, and Rick Barnes. In 2005, Izzo's team won the tournament championship.

Head coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten Conference) (1995–present)
1995–96 Michigan State 16–16 9–9 7th NIT Second Round
1996–97 Michigan State 17–12 9–9 T–6th NIT Second Round
1997–98 Michigan State 22–8 13–3 T–1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
1998–99 Michigan State 33–5 15–1 1st NCAA Final Four
1999–00 Michigan State 32–7 13–3 T–1st NCAA Champions
2000–01 Michigan State 28–5 13–3 T–1st NCAA Final Four
2001–02 Michigan State 19–12 10–6 5th NCAA Round of 64
2002–03 Michigan State 22–13 10–6 T–3rd NCAA Elite Eight
2003–04 Michigan State 18–12 12–4 T–2nd NCAA Round of 64
2004–05 Michigan State 26–7 13–3 2nd NCAA Final Four
2005–06 Michigan State 22–12 8–8 T–6th NCAA Round of 64
2006–07 Michigan State 23–12 8–8 T–7th NCAA Round of 32
2007–08 Michigan State 27–9 12–6 4th NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2008–09 Michigan State 31–7 15–3 1st NCAA Runner-Up
2009–10 Michigan State 28–9 14–4 T–1st NCAA Final Four
2010–11 Michigan State 19–15 9–9 T–4th NCAA Round of 64
2011–12 Michigan State 29–8 13–5 T–1st NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2012–13 Michigan State 27–9 13–5 T–2nd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
2013–14 Michigan State 29–9 12–6 T–2nd NCAA Elite Eight
2014–15 Michigan State 27–12 12–6 T–3rd NCAA Final Four
2015–16 Michigan State 19–4 6–4
Michigan State: 514–203 (.717) 239–110 (.685)
Total: 514–203 (.716)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Michigan State's Tom Izzo is college hoops' best coach, bar none Retrieved January 23, 2011
  2. ^ .Katz, Andy (May 7, 2007). "Spartans' performance stacks up against anyone's". (ESPN). Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Auerbach, Nicole (March 14, 2014). "Michigan State's Tom Izzo is Mr. March". USA Today. 
  5. ^ "Tom Izzo on hoops Hall of Fame ballot for first time". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  6. ^ Tom Izzo Biography Retrieved June 19, 2010
  7. ^ Tom Van Riper (March 5, 2012). "The highest-paid college basketball coaches". Forbes. Retrieved May 5, 2012. 
  8. ^ Izzo sets Michigan State record for wins as Spartans cruise CBS Sports. Retrieved June 19, 2010
  9. ^ Report: Hawks make offer to Izzo", May 12, 2000, retrieved August 7, 2006
  10. ^ "Izzo not interested in Raptors, plans to stay put" by Kelly Theiser, The State News, June 15, 2004, retrieved August 7, 2006
  11. ^ "Tom to Tucson: Izzo Top Candidate for Arizona Job" by Chris Domschke "The Beardown" "" November 14, 2008, retrieved November 21, 2008
  12. ^ IZZO STAYS A SPARTAN WLNS-TV 6 Lansing, Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  13. ^ "The 10 angriest coaches in college basketball". USA Today. 
  14. ^ "Izzo wins 500th, fueled by Valentine triple-double". Retrieved 2015-12-10. 
  15. ^ a b "Izzo cherishes chance to pass ‘unlucky’ Keady in B1G wins". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-02-02. 
  16. ^ McNeill, Kevin (November 19, 2005). "Maui Invitational: Strength of Schedule". Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  17. ^ Shelton, Gary. "Spartans are bruisers, and proud of it". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  18. ^ Ken Mannie; Mike Vorkapich. "Spartan Basketball - Training With a Football Mentality". Coach and Athletic Director (Scholastic Corporation). Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 
  19. ^ Spartans in the NBA Retrieved June 19, 2010
  20. ^ "USA Basketball: USA Basketball 2001-2004 Quadrennium Committees". January 18, 2002. Archived from the original on December 29, 2005. Retrieved May 10, 2009. 

External links[edit]