MSU Coach, U.P. Native Tom Izzo Earns Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Tom Izzo, longtime Michigan State basketball coach and Iron Mountain native, will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame tonight at Springfield Symphony Hall.

Quicken Loans Carrier Classic basketball game
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Danals.

Gary Williams, who coached the Maryland basketball team from 1989 to 2011 and who has become a close friend of the MSU coach, will be announcing the induction of Izzo. Originally, Izzo had asked Magic Johnson to make the announcement, but Johnson had prior plans to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Cookie and could not attend, according to a WJR interview.

Earning a spot in the Hall of Fame while still coaching is a challenging and extraordinary feat. Only five other active NCAA coaches—Jim Boeheim, John Calipari, Mike Krzyzewski, Rick Pitino and Roy Williams—have been inducted.

Sports Leadership Seminar
Photo from Flickr.

In 21 seasons as the head coach for the Spartans, Izzo has notched 524 victories, winning more than 70 percent of all games. While his teams have claimed seven Big Ten regular season championships and five Big Ten tournament titles, Izzo, or “Mr. March” as he’s come to be called, may be most known for his teams’ postseason success—including seven Final Fours and the National Championship in 2000. In fact, until 2014, every senior class under Izzo had made a Final Four appearance.

After growing up in Iron Mountain, a town near the Wisconsin border in the Upper Peninsula, Izzo played his college basketball at Northern Michigan University in Marquette. Following his playing career, he coached at nearby Ishpeming High for one season before becoming an assistant at his alma mater. Four seasons later, MSU picked him up as an assistant, and as they say, the rest was history.

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