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Tom Izzo: Michigan State to Be 'Part of the Healing Process' After Larry Nassar

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2018

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo speaks at a news conference after an NCAA college basketball game against Maryland in College Park, Md., Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Michigan State men's basketball coach Tom Izzo said he hopes his team can be "part of the healing process" as the university undergoes mass upheaval following the fallout from the Larry Nassar trial. 

"We've got a lot of things to cover, a lot of things to go over," Izzo said in an on-court interview after Sunday's 74-68 win over Maryland, per ESPN. "I just hope that everybody rallies behind this team a little bit, and I hope we all rally behind the survivors, and we make our community a better place."

Michigan State President Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis have announced their resignations in the days following a judge sentencing Nassar to up to 175 years in prison for decades of sexual abuse against underage girls.

Nassar was the head athletic doctor at Michigan State and pleaded guilty to forcibly penetrating more than 140 different young girls during his time at the university and as the team doctor for USA Gymnastics.

Izzo issued an apology last Sunday for his comments about the Nassar case and job security of Simon made last Friday, which some, including the mother of Aly Raisman, criticized. Some saw his comments, in which he described the events as a "tough week" for himself, as tone-deaf to the victims.

"On Friday night in my postgame press conference, I used the wrong words when trying to express my belief that Larry Nassar and anyone else who broke the law should be held accountable for their crimes," Izzo said last Sunday. "My overall message was, and remains, that I have tremendous admiration for the courage the survivors have shown, and that Larry Nassar has permanently damaged the lives of so many people and deserves all the punishment that he receives."

Izzo earlier this week denied rumors he would be retiring amid the university-wide fallout. An Outside the Lines report unearthed a previously unreported 2010 incident in which a Spartans assistant coach was charged with punching a female Michigan State student. The coach was not punished and was later accused of sexual assault later in the year by a different female student.

"Well, I'm not going anywhere in my mind," Izzo told reporters Friday. "I'm definitely not retiring. There's a lot of things that happened today that are a part of life.

"I'm going to worry about my team, I'm going to worry about the survivors, and worry about what I do. And have no plans on doing that."

Travis Walton, the assistant in question, has been placed on leave by the G League's Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario. 

Izzo declined to elaborate Sunday when pressed by a reporter about why Walton was allowed to continue coaching the Spartans while charges were pending in 2010. He said he and the program have cooperated with every investigation. 

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