Tom Izzo Rumors: Magic Have 'Expressed Interest' in Michigan State Head Coach

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 24, 2018

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo argues during the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball tournament second-round game against Syracuse in Detroit, Sunday, March 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Orlando Magic are reportedly interested in hiring one of the most successful coaches in the college basketball ranks to fill their head coaching vacancy for the 2018-19 campaign and beyond.

According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, the Magic "expressed interest" in hiring Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo.

This isn't the first time Orlando has looked to the college game when attempting to hire a head coach.

In 2007, they hired then-University of Florida coach Billy Donovan, only to have him change his mind and stay with the Gators. Donovan is now the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Izzo has been the head coach at Michigan State since 1995 and has established himself as one of the best of his profession. He has led the Spartans to seven Final Fours, a national championship, eight Big Ten regular-season championships and five conference tournament titles, and he routinely has them in the Top 10 as a national powerhouse.

However, his success on the court has been overshadowed some by scandals at Michigan State.

A February Outside the Lines investigation from Paula Lavigne and Nicole Noren of ESPN revealed "a pattern of widespread denial, inaction and information suppression" by Michigan State officials when it came to violence and sexual misconduct against women, particularly from those within the athletic department.

Allegations of sexual assault and violence against some basketball players, including former Michigan State guard and undergraduate assistant Travis Walton, were included. What's more, Lavigne reported in April a current student filed a lawsuit saying Michigan State didn't provide adequate help or resources after she was raped by three basketball players in 2015.

Izzo told ESPN in March he's sure he properly dealt with any allegations: "The only thing I'm sure of is I feel so comfortable that I handled it the right way the whole time."

As for the Magic, they haven't made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season and fired Frank Vogel after he went 29-53 in 2016-17 and 25-57 in 2017-18 in his two seasons at the helm.

They do have the opportunity to add a player to a roster featuring Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft.

While Izzo has enjoyed sustained success at the collegiate level, he has no experience as an NBA head coach. If his first chance comes with the Magic, he will have a significant rebuilding project ahead of him.

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