Former Michigan State Basketball Coach Jud Heathcote Dies at Age 90

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2017

Former Michigan State basketball coach Jud Heathcote, left, is presented with a medal by current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo as Heathcote is inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009, in Kansas City, Mo.  Other inductees include Larry Bird, Earvin
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

Former Michigan State Spartans basketball coach Jud Heathcote died Monday at the age of 90.

The basketball team shared an announcement, noting he died in Spokane, Washington.

"The basketball world is a sadder place today with the passing of Jud Heathcote," current head coach Tom Izzo said in the statement. "No one cared more about the welfare of the game than Jud. He was a coach's coach and a mentor to many. Our hearts are filled with sadness and deepest sympathy for his wife Beverly and the Heathcote family."

Izzo also discussed how influential Heathcote was in his own life, thanking him for "giving me a chance when no one else would."

Heathcote was the head coach for the Spartans from the 1976-77 season through the 1994-95 campaign. Izzo—his former assistant—took over the program in the head coaching role the very next season after Heathcote accumulated a 336-224 record and won a national title.

Heathcote's 1978-79 squad won the championship behind the on-court leadership of Magic Johnson, who said in 2015 while appearing on The Drive With Jack radio program, "I owe a lot to Jud Heathcote," via Graham Couch of the Lansing State Journal. "He's the one who really made me a perfectionist. He brought all the Magic out."

In addition to coaching Johnson and the Spartans, Heathcote also coached Montana from the 1971-72 season through the 1975-76 campaign and led the school to an NCAA tournament appearance. He finished his five seasons there with an 80-53 mark.

Heathcote was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

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