The decision upon the shoulders of Tom Izzo had risen to epic proportions in just a span of nine days.
It was a tug-of-war between Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert—a Michigan State alum—and everyone involved with Michigan State athletics. Once the smoke cleared and all the rumors had run their course, Izzo finally revealed the heavily anticipated decision: he was staying at Michigan State to coach the Spartans.
Spartan fans in Michigan and around the country rejoiced, but Tom just exhaled. He was ready to move on and get his life back on track, which includes further improving the sensational program he has built in East Lansing.
He was upset at all the false statements being made by the media, as were Michigan State President Lou Ann K. Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis. There was a whirlwind of different things being said every day on message boards, Twitter, Facebook, and basically any other form of media.
But now that is all over. After revealing his decision, Izzo proclaimed that he was at Michigan State “for life” and vowed to make his basketball program among the elite on a consistent basis. Well, Tom, you sort of have already done that.
With all the discussion surrounding Izzo’s future plans, it seemed almost as if he was returning to a place he had been since the mid-1980s. But like that old adage, “you don’t really know what you got ‘til it’s gone,” Michigan State fans from East Lansing to the other side of the world almost realized first-hand.
To put it bluntly, it was almost too much to bear.
Izzo belongs at Michigan State, where he is adored not only for his success on the court but also the accomplishments off of it.
His players stick around for more than one year to play for him. He recruits those who fit his ideal characteristics of talent, work ethic, and dedication. And he does something which many college coaches in various sports sometimes (wrongly) overlook: focuses on academics as the cornerstone of achievement.
Yep, Tom Izzo is one of a kind. A “natural resource” as Hollis so well put it, he is more than a basketball coach for a large university in the Midwest; he is a role model of what hard work and commitment will lead to in the grand scheme. Already among the best coaches in all of college sports, Izzo still has room for improvement—a scary thought considering everything he has accomplished.
Sometimes you don’t realize the great things you have until you lose them, but luckily for Spartan fans from here to yonder, they won’t have to experience the latter.