Michgan State's Top Ten of the 2000s: #5 - #1

John OpieCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2009

DETROIT - APRIL 06:  Sparty the mascot for the Michigan State Spartans looks on in the first half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championship game at Ford Field on April 6, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Everyone has an opinion.. Some are better than others, and we like to read and review your comments.. But after much pondering, discussions, and reading your E Mails.. we have finalized the Top 5 for the Last Decade...

#5:  Spartan Tailgates …. All Home Games on the Michigan State Campus
This Number 5 had the most discusions of any pick.. but prevailed in the end...

..Best entertainment value in the State of Michigan on fall Saturdays, being surrounded by wonderfully manicured landscapes, Football, Friends, Family, Food , Fun and beer.. lots of Beer….. Doesn’t get any better than this… Great place to meet people, fellow Spartans, freidly rival team supporters.. Always a great Time...  I have seen a growth in the last 5 years of fans, but many still don't go in, but hang out at the partys.  As the Football team improves in the W / L column, and Spartans distance themselves form the old culture, seats will fill...  this is my Fith most significant aspect of Spartan Sports.

The Big Ten Football Tour dot Com, Named MSU to be the “Best Tailgate” in the Big Ten, with good reason of course…


#4: NCAA Ice Hockey Champs.. 2007 NCAA Champions
Beating Boston College in the finals 3 – 1…
They had to make their way through a difficult bracket, Boston University, Notre Dame, The Main Black Bears before beating Boston College.   The Team was filled with outstanding players:  Tim Kennedy, Tyler Howells, current RedWing stand out Justin Abdlekader, and Jeff Lerg.. 

Lerg was SpartyMSU’s favorite player, he played on his head.. I watched a few of the games that year and the playoffs in Grand Rapids.. He only allowed 5 goals through the entire playoffs.  Had just some phenomenal saves..  Jeff Lerg was the Brett Swenson for the icers…
Side Note: MSU also leads the CCHA as tournament champions:  11-times.


NCAA Basketball Champs… 2000 National NCAA Champions
The Win was lead by the Flint Stones.. Morris Peterson, Charlie Bell and Mateen Cleaves….
Michigan State senior Mateen Cleaves ended up being the  Most Outstanding Player (MOP) of the 2000 NCAA Tournament. Cleaves when down with an ankle injury with 16:18 to play in the 2nd half, Cleaves had an emotional returned only four minutes later, and sparked the Spartans on a 16-6 run to ice the game for MSU. The lone top-seed remaining would bring order to a tournament filled with upsets as they salted away the victory for the school's second ever National Championship (1979). Michigan State coach Tom Izzo earned his first ever title, from his second straight final four appearance. Morris Peterson led the Spartans with 21 points.

This victory continued to seal Michigan State’s future road map  as Best College Team of the 2000s.


The hiring of Mark Dantonio..
The Spartan Football program was floundering,  The football team had a culture of not finishing games, and not being disciplined on the field or off.   The University’s search for a new head coach concluded on November 27, 2006, with the hiring of Mark Dantonio. We are lucky to have him aboard. Arguably, successful  as well as being the right man for the leadership of the MSU football program.

There has been and will be issues with young athletes, but he has approached the issues clearly, decisively, and with discipline.  The Spartan have now been 3 straight years of Bowl appearances, as well as finish games on the field. He has laid the foundation for a strong program for the future.   It is a long road out of mediocrity, but he clearly has made the first steps in many, many years to pull the Spartans up.

Coach Dantonio is committed to teaching the young men under his tutelage what it means to be a steward for the University’s reputation and Spartan pride. Many young men will come to MSU to play and learn, but only the best will stay and learn to be responsible enough and committed to wear the mantel of “Spartan”.

Thank you for choosing to be on board Mark Dantonio ! In the 4 years yo have been here, we are a much better program already.

SpartyMSU Most significant major sports accomplishments, moments, or personalities
Coach Tom Izzo
Teams have made the NCAA Tourney Every year… 
In the last 10 years...
1 NCAA Championship
2 Championship Games
4 Final Fours
5 Elite 8
6 Sweet Sixteen Appearances

Tom Izzo: his easy going, honest demeanor combined with his skill as a basketball coach, leader and developer of young men, has helped bring Michigan State to the forefront of collegiate sports.

He has help shape Michigan State Basketball program into the premier program for the last decade.  His team seems to have more of a family atmosphere, where the team plays for each other, as well as for recognition and pride.   Fortunate High School athletes/ recruits are brought into the program this successful program, and all four year athletes have played in at least one Final Four, and they perennially play one of the toughest schedules in the nation.

His mantra of “Play anyone, anywhere, anytime,” has put Michigan State the National stage, and has given Michigan State one of the perennially  toughest schedules in the nation.

Michigan State now enjoys the accolade of Best NCAA Basketball School in the 2000s by Sports illustrated, and to the #1 Spot in the SpartyMSU.com ranking for the last Decade….

Thank you Tom Izzo for your unique ability, we are fortunate to have you at MSU.

 Sparty on to 2010....


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