Tom Izzo might just be the best coach in Big Ten basketball history. And now his place in basketball history has been firmly cemented.
The Michigan State head coach was named Monday as one of the members of the Class of 2016 for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I’ve always told my players that they need to dream something before they can achieve it,” Izzo said in the school's announcement. “Growing up in Iron Mountain, I had plenty of dreams, many of them seemed like long shots. But I’d be lying if I said being in the Hall of Fame was one of those dreams — it seemed too big. Even today, it’s surreal.
“As a coach, you can’t accomplish anything without the help of others. While I’m the one being recognized by the Hall of Fame, it’s only because of the work, support and advice from so many people that have touched both my life and my career. From the guidance and love of my family and friends, to the instruction and advice from my teachers and mentors, to the hard work and accomplishments of my coaches and players, and the great support from my administration, they’ve all made the ‘undreamable’ a reality.”
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Izzo has spent the past 21 seasons as the head coach at Michigan State, leading the Spartans to a national championship in 2000 and a total of seven Final Four appearances, the fifth most all-time. He's taken the Spartans to 19 consecutive NCAA tournament, the fourth-longest streak ever, and he ranks eighth all-time with 46 NCAA tournament wins.
Izzo is the second-winningest coach in Big Ten history, his 246 conference wins trailing just Indiana legend Bob Knight. Under Izzo, Michigan State has won seven regular-season conference championships and five Big Ten Tournament titles. Earlier this season, Izzo became the eighth coach to win 500 games in his first 21 seasons and now has 524 career victories.
“As a roommate and friend of Tom Izzo since the early 1980s, I have always admired and respected Coach’s ability to care and fight for people and issues beyond his area of responsibility,” Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis said in the announcement. “He is passionate about the game of basketball, higher education and the people that commit their lives to the ideals of these pursuits. His attention to detail, concern about right and wrong, and the importance of personal accountability of everyone contribute to his success. With humility as his athletic director, emotion as his friend, and pride as a Spartan, I appreciate the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in recognizing Tom’s contributions to the game.”
— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) April 4, 2016