Tom Izzo delivers powerful speech at Michigan State candlelight vigil

Tom Izzo addressed the Michigan State community during a candlelight vigil on Wednesday.

The Michigan State men’s basketball team was supposed to host Minnesota for a game Wednesday night. Instead, the Spartans head coach spoke against gun violence after a fatal shooting devastated the university community.

Tom Izzo stepped up to the podium at a candlelight vigil held on the Michigan State campus on Wednesday after three students were killed and five others were wounded in a shooting Monday night. 

“I think everybody spoke that something has to be done in our society. Gun violence is insane right now.” Izzo said. “We all have a platform. Some are small, some are high, but we all have a platform, and I hope each and every one of you use your platform to help others so other families don’t have to go (through) what these families are going through now.”

Izzo’s full remarks can be seen below:


Izzo has been Michigan State’s head coach since 1995, and his time in East Lansing began 40 years ago when he joined the coaching staff as an assistant in 1983. Over the last four decades, he has guided the program to a national championship, eight Final Fours and 10 Big Ten regular season championships.

Along with 40 years on the sideline, Izzo’s ties to the university also extend to his children. His daughter, Raquel, graduated from Michigan State and his son, Steven, is a walk-on for the men’s basketball team.

“For 40 years, I’ve always believed that at Michigan State, we are at our own strongest when we are together,” Izzo said. “In athletics, the best teams are always greater than the sums of their individual parts. The same is true for our community.”

Michigan State canceled home athletic events for 48 hours in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s shooting. The Spartans women’s basketball team’s road game against Purdue that was scheduled for Wednesday night was also postponed. It has not been announced whether those games will be rescheduled. Izzo’s team is scheduled to play its next game in Ann Arbor, Mich., against rival Michigan on Saturday.

Before ending his speech, Izzo made a call to action for people in the Michigan State community to come together.

“Our hearts are heavy. Our loss has been great. Our lives have been permanently changed,” he said. “But with a shared commitment to help each other and a promise to remember those we have lost, we will learn to find joy once again.”