Izzo speaking at The Pentagon in May 2014
January 30, 1955 |
Iron Mountain, Michigan
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1979–1983||Northern Michigan (assistant)|
|1983–1995||Michigan State (assistant)|
|Head coaching record|
|Tournaments||NCAA: 48–20 (.706)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2016
Tom Izzo (//, Italian pronunciation: [ˈittso]; born January 30, 1955, is an American college basketball coach. Since 1995, Izzo has been the head coach for the Michigan State Spartans men's basketball team. On April 4, 2016, Izzo was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Under Izzo, Michigan State has been a successful collegiate basketball program, earning him the nickname of “Mr. March” by some on account of his past success in the NCAA Tournament. Izzo has led the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA Division I National Championship, the 2009 NCAA National Championship Game, seven Final Fours, eight Big Ten championships, and five Big Ten Tournament championships in his 23 years at Michigan State. The coach with the most wins in school history, Izzo's teams have earned invitations to 21 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.
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 has won eight regular season conference titles, tied for the third most in conference history. He has also won the most Big Ten Tournament titles (five) in conference history. Izzo is second all time in Big Ten wins (272 through 2018), trailing only Bob Knight.
Izzo was born and raised in Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In his hometown he met best friend and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci. Both he and his friend 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.
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 coach Jud Heathcote elevated Izzo to associate head coach. After Heathcote's retirement following the 1994–95 season and upon both Heathcote and the Michigan State Athletic Director's recommendation, Izzo was named the new head coach of men's basketball for MSU.
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. In his first two seasons as head coach, Izzo went 9–9 finishing 6th and 7th in the conference and failed to make the NCAA 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 20 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, which is the 3rd longest current streak among Division I teams. Izzo has a record of 47–19 in the NCAA Tournament. In 1999, Izzo won his first of five Big Ten Tournament titles, and went to his first Final Four, the first of 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. In the instate rivalry with Michigan, Izzo's official record against the Wolverines is 24–14, although Michigan vacated five of their wins in the series at the start of his head coaching career.
In 2000, Izzo led MSU to its second NCAA national championship with an 89–76 win over Florida. 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. 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."
Izzo fell short of obtaining his second national championship in 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.
On November 26, 2015, Izzo won his 500th career game, all with Michigan State, with a win over Boston College in the Wooden Legacy. 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. He trails only Bob Knight.
On March 18, 2016, MSU suffered what was, at the time, perhaps the single greatest upset in NCAA Tournament history when No. 15 seeded Middle Tennessee defeated the No. 2 seeded Spartans 90–81. It was believed that MSU was the equivalent of a No. 1 seed and Vegas odds had them pegged the favorite to win the title. Middle Tennessee led from start to finish and held off repeated Michigan State threats to take the lead. Despite that, Izzo stated that the team "resurrected me".
On October 13, 2016, Izzo won the Dean Smith Award which is awarded to “an individual in college basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the late North Carolina coaching great.”.
On April 4, 2016, Izzo was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Izzo chose former Maryland head coach Gary Williams to introduce him at the Hall of Fame ceremony. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on September 9, 2016.
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. His motto is "Players Play – Tough Players Win". 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 in March.
During the 2017–18 season, Izzo received criticism for his handling of sexual assault cases approximately 10 years prior. The report stated that Izzo had failed to report the assaults or to take any actions against the players involved. Izzo has said that he always has and always will cooperate fully with all investigations.
Eighteen High School All-Americans have played for Tom Izzo at MSU:
M = McDonald's All-Americans; J = Jordan Brand All-Americans
14 different Mr. Basketball winners have played (or will play) for Tom Izzo at MSU.
Under Izzo, two Spartans have earned National Player of the Year awards:
Under Izzo, eight Spartans have earned All-America honors
Under Izzo, five different players have been named Big Ten Player of the Year. 12 different players have earned first team All-Big Ten conference recognition while 17 have been named All-Big Ten second team..
Since he took over as head coach, 18 players have been selected in the NBA draft. Nine of those players have been drafted in the first round. The former players under Tom Izzo who have been selected in the NBA draft are: 
|1996||2||48||Jamie Feick||Philadelphia 76ers|
|2000||1||14||Mateen Cleaves||Detroit Pistons|
|2000||1||21||Morris Peterson||Toronto Raptors|
|2001||1||5||Jason Richardson||Golden State Warriors|
|2001||1||19||Zach Randolph||Portland Trail Blazers|
|2001||2||51||Andre Hutson||Milwaukee Bucks|
|2002||2||51||Marcus Taylor||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|2005||2||46||Erazem Lorbek||Indiana Pacers|
|2006||1||25||Shannon Brown||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2006||1||28||Maurice Ager||Dallas Mavericks|
|2006||2||34||Paul Davis||Los Angeles Clippers|
|2009||2||50||Goran Suton||Utah Jazz|
|2012||2||35||Draymond Green||Golden State Warriors|
|2014||1||15||Adreian Payne||Atlanta Hawks|
|2014||1||19||Gary Harris||Chicago Bulls|
|2015||2||56||Branden Dawson||New Orleans Pelicans|
|2016||1||14||Denzel Valentine||Chicago Bulls|
|2016||2||31||Deyonta Davis||Boston Celtics|
Two former Spartan basketball players have joined the National Football League after the conclusion of their college basketball careers.
Two of Izzo's former assistants are currently head coaches at other schools:
One of Izzo's former players is currently a head coach:
Several former Izzo assistants were college head coaches:
Current Izzo assistants who were previously college head coaches:
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.
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.
|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 Champion|
|2000–01||Michigan State||28–5||13–3||T–1st||NCAA Final Four|
|2001–02||Michigan State||19–12||10–6||5th||NCAA First Round|
|2002–03||Michigan State||22–13||10–6||T–3rd||NCAA Elite Eight|
|2003–04||Michigan State||18–12||12–4||T–2nd||NCAA First Round|
|2004–05||Michigan State||26–7||13–3||2nd||NCAA Final Four|
|2005–06||Michigan State||22–12||8–8||T–6th||NCAA First Round|
|2006–07||Michigan State||23–12||8–8||T–7th||NCAA Second Round|
|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 Second Round|
|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||29–6||13–5||2nd||NCAA First Round|
|2016–17||Michigan State||20–15||10–8||T–5th||NCAA Second Round|
|2017–18||Michigan State||30–5||16–2||1st||NCAA Second Round|
|Michigan State:||574–225 (.718)||272–122 (.690)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
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