Okay, so there is no national holiday to celebrate the greatness that is Tom Izzo… but there damn well should be.
For those of you to whom Tom Izzo’s name does not ring a bell, he is the greatest college basketball coach ever to grace the planet. For those of you who do know his glory, there is no disputing my claims. Don’t even try.
There are plenty of awarded designations out there that one could use as a rubric for coaching success in the NCAA. National Coach of the Year titles, conference and national tournament championships, and the Winningest Coach designations are all perfectly reasonable labels to judge a coach’s performance… but Tom Izzo is more.
Tom Izzo is more than an eight-time National Coach of the Year.
Tom Izzo is more than his NCAA Championship.
Tom Izzo is more than Big Ten Championships.
Tom Izzo is more than his Big Ten record for the longest home winning streak.
Tom Izzo is simply more than any silly statistical or committee-awarded title.
Tom Izzo is a facilitator of athletic magic. Since 1995, the man has cultivated some of the most outstanding college basketball players and teams that have ever played because he is a fucking OUTSTANDING leader.
I’ve been watching Tom Izzo since I was 11 years old when he became the MSU Spartan head coach. I had just started playing basketball myself and looked to the Spartans for inspiration, learning opportunities, and role models. Tom Izzo is responsible for making basketball seem magical in my eyes.
His coaching philosophies and methods speak volumes when it comes to player and team development. His leadership style empowers his players to become self-made stars. His practice drills build teams tougher than nails and full of tenacity – giving them the grit and the guts required of champions. He’s taken ragtag teams of talented yet young and unrefined players and cultivated them into cohesive, high-powered teams that function like a well-oiled, basketball brilliance machine.
More so than all of that though, Tom Izzo’s passion and unbridled love for the game, the Spartan basketball program, and each of his teams is UNMATCHED. Perhaps that’s why the Breslin Center, home to Spartan Basketball, has a student section named not after the school mascot… but after *OUR COACH*: The Izzone. [Insert swoony feelings here.]
So tonight, as the Spartans battle their biggest rivals (the University of Michigan Wolverines), I cheer not just for the outstanding young players that have come so far to prove themselves and grow this season, but also for Tom Izzo and everything he’s brought to the Spartan basketball program over the years.
Cheers to the tenacity, the grit, the moxie. Cheers to the heart, the zeal, and the crazed enthusiasm.
Cheers to the mother fucking Izzo!