Written By Mary-Rachel Dick. Mary-Rachel is an on-air sports personality from the Big 10 Network and ESPN. She's also a guest contributor for Glam Girls Guide to Sports
It's been exactly one week since Tom Izzo officially ended rumors of a move to the NBA despite some serious flirting with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
As he put it in his news conference, in regards to his tenure at Michigan State, "I'm going to be a lifer. This is what I'm going to be, and I'm damn proud of it."
So now that the dust has finally settled in East Lansing, it's important that not only Spartan Nation, but the rest of you REAL college basketball fans out there, take a minute to applaud Izzo for having the common sense to STAY.
At a time when the college game is plagued by recruiting violations, vacated wins, and coaches sacrificing their word to impressionable student athletes to bolt for a bigger paycheck—Izzo did the right thing.
Cleveland offered to double the amount of Izzo's current salary. Couple that little pay raise with the possibility of coaching King James, and it's enough to make any loyal coach end the perfect marriage to his beloved school for the allure of the NBA. As they say, "the grass is always greener."
The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly offered the late John Wooden 10 times his salary at UCLA. He declined.
Only the great ones rise above it. And perhaps Izzo has just entered into that upper-echelon of untouchables.
Over the years, there has been a collection of big name college coaches who made the heralded jump to the NBA. Usually at the height of their careers. Rick Pitino's infamous decision to leave the University of Kentucky is a prime example.
Let's rewind to 1997. Pitino had just coached the Wildcats to two straight NCAA Championship games (winning title in 1996). It seemed life couldn't get any sweeter for college basketball's favorite coach. And then Boston called and offered $50 million to coach the Celtics.
Four years and consecutive losing seasons later, Pitino resigned from his NBA duties in Boston to find himself back in the college ranks coaching at Louisville. Imagine the dynasty Pitino could have built with the Wildcats if he never left for the NBA. It's no surprise that the Louisville coach openly admits now that leaving Kentucky may have been the biggest mistake of his career.
Izzo doesn't have to worry about that. He's committed to a monogamous relationship...
MSU + IZZO = LOVE
Mary-Rachel Dick is a self-professed sports fanatic, Mary-Rachel landed her first sports reporting gig in college with a national sports and entertainment website called Palestra. Equipped with a mini-dv cam and tripod, she worked as a one-man-band reporter covering Purdue football and men’s basketball. Her reporting duties for Palestra took her nationwide as she covered several major college sporting events including the Maui Classic in Hawaii, the Rose Bowl, and Pacific Life Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
Upon graduating from Purdue University in 2007, Mary-Rachel began working as a football sideline reporter/on-location reporter for Big Ten Network. For the last two years, she has been a part of the Network’s coverage of men’s football and basketball, delivering live on-air “news of the day” reports during the week with pre- and post-game interviews/updates on game day.
Aside from her work with Big Ten Network, Mary-Rachel hosted ESPN and Voom HD’s 10 episode series "Sports and Muscle in Monterey” highlighting the Russo and Steele collector car auction in Monterey, California. She also got to spend some time with Michael Phelps during the USA Swimming National Championships as the poolside reporter for a five day live international broadcast that included Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines.