Tom Izzo

Tom Izzo
US Navy 111025-N-QF368-217 Tom Izzo, head coach of the Michigan State University Spartans prepares his team for the Carrier Classic.jpg
Izzo at a practice before the Carrier Classic in 2011
Current position
TitleHead coach
TeamMichigan State
ConferenceBig Ten
Record657–256 (.720)
Annual salary$4.4 million [1]
Biographical details
Born (1955-01-30) January 30, 1955 (age 66)
Iron Mountain, Michigan
Playing career
1973–1977Northern Michigan
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1977–1979Ishpeming HS
1979–1983Northern Michigan (assistant)
1983–1995Michigan State (assistant)
1995–presentMichigan State
Head coaching record
Overall657–256 (.720)
Tournaments52–21 (NCAA Division I)
2–2 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2016 (profile)

Tom Izzo[2] (/ˈɪz/, Italian pronunciation: [ˈittso]); born January 30, 1955), is an American college basketball coach who has been the head coach at Michigan State University since 1995.[3] On April 4, 2016, Izzo was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.[4]

Izzo has led the Spartans to the NCAA National Championship in 2000, Runners-Up in 2009, eight Final Fours, ten Big Ten regular season titles, and six Big Ten Tournament championships in his 26 years at Michigan State. Izzo has the most wins in school history and his teams have earned invitations to 23 consecutive NCAA tournaments without a single losing season as a head coach. In addition, MSU set the Big Ten record for the longest home court winning streak between 1998 and 2002. Several of these accomplishments led former ESPN analyst Andy Katz to deem Michigan State the top college basketball program for the decade of 1998 to 2007.[5]

Izzo is currently the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten Conference, and his teams are often recognized for their rebounding prowess and defensive tenacity. He has won four national coach of the year awards and maintains a considerable coaching tree—several of his former assistants are currently head coaches at other Division I schools. Izzo has won ten regular-season conference titles, the third most in conference history. He has also won the most Big Ten Tournament titles (six) in conference history. Izzo is second all-time in Big Ten wins (311 through 2021), trailing only Bob Knight.[6]


Playing career

Izzo, who is of Italian[7] and Finnish descent, was born and raised in Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the border of Wisconsin. In his hometown he met best friend and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci. Both he and his friend attended Iron Mountain High where they were teammates on the football, basketball and track teams. At Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where they were roommates, Izzo played guard for the men's basketball team from 1973 to 1977. In his senior season, he set a school record for minutes played and was named a Division II All-American.

Early coaching career

After graduating from Northern Michigan, Izzo was head coach at Ishpeming High School for one season. He then took an assistant coaching job at Northern Michigan University from 1979 to 1983. Izzo was then named a part-time assistant at Michigan State in September 1983. After a short two-month stay in 1986 as an assistant coach at University of Tulsa, Izzo returned to Michigan State when assistant Mike Deane left to become head coach at Siena College. Prior to the 1990–91 season, then coach Jud Heathcote elevated Izzo to associate head coach. After Heathcote's retirement following the 1994–95 season and upon both Heathcote and the Michigan State Athletic Director's recommendation, Izzo was named the new head coach of men's basketball for MSU.[8]

Head coach at Michigan State

Izzo and John Calipari of Kentucky, the two highest paid college coaches in 2012[9]

Hired as head coach at Michigan State in 1995, Izzo is currently the longest-tenured basketball coach in the Big Ten Conference. He became the coach with the most wins in school history after winning his 341st game on November 29, 2009, to surpass Heathcote.[10] In his first two seasons as head coach, Izzo went 9–9 finishing 6th and 7th in the conference and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. In 1998, MSU's record in conference improved to 13–3 and Izzo won the first of his ten regular-season Big Ten championships. 1998 also saw Michigan State begin a streak of 23 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, which is the 2nd longest current streak among Division I teams. Izzo has a record of 52–21 in the NCAA Tournament. In 1999, Izzo won his first of six Big Ten Tournament titles, and went to his first Final Four, the first of three straight Final Four appearances, joining Krzyzewski and Ben Howland as the only three coaches who have made three consecutive Final Fours since the NCAA Tournament bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. In the instate rivalry with Michigan, Izzo's official record against the Wolverines is 24–14, although Michigan vacated five of their wins in the series at the start of his head coaching career.

In 2000, Izzo led MSU to its second NCAA national championship with an 89–76 win over Florida. Eighty-two percent of his players who completed their eligibility left MSU with a degree. Over the years, Izzo has been pursued by the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and New Jersey Nets for head coaching jobs.[11][12][13] After a brief flirtation with Cleveland, on June 15, 2010, Izzo reported to the Michigan State University's Board of Trustees that he would remain head coach of Michigan State, in which he stated he was "a Spartan for life."[14]

Izzo fell short of obtaining his second national championship in 2009 with a loss to North Carolina 89–72. His streak of three straight Final Four appearances from 1999 to 2001 is the third-longest of all time, and his six Final Four appearances in the years 1999–2010 were matched by no other team in college basketball.

In 2013, Izzo was voted as the fifth angriest coach in college basketball by USA Today Sports, an honor that he cherishes.[15]

On November 26, 2015, Izzo won his 500th career game, all with Michigan State, with a win over Boston College in the Wooden Legacy.[16] On January 28, 2016, Izzo won his 513th career game moving him into second place past Gene Keady all time for wins by a coach in the Big Ten.[17] He trails only Bob Knight.[17]

On March 18, 2016, MSU suffered what was, at the time, perhaps the single greatest upset in NCAA Tournament history when No. 15 seeded Middle Tennessee defeated the No. 2 seeded Spartans 90–81.[18] It was believed that MSU was the equivalent of a No. 1 seed and Vegas odds had them pegged the favorite to win the title. Middle Tennessee led from start to finish and held off repeated Michigan State threats to take the lead. Despite that, Izzo stated that the team "resurrected me".[19]

On October 13, 2016, Izzo won the Dean Smith Award which is awarded to “an individual in college basketball who embodies the spirit and values of the late North Carolina coaching great.”.[20]

Izzo led the 2018–19 Spartans to a 32–7 overall record, his fifth 30-win season, and 19th season with 20+ wins, nearly triple his predecessor's seven 20-win campaigns; the team reached the Final Four for the eighth time under Izzo. On October 21, 2019, at the outset of Izzo's 25th season leading the Spartans, Michigan State was named the preseason No. 1 team in The Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball preseason poll for the first time in program history, dating to the beginning of the AP poll in 1948. [21]

Hall of Fame

On April 4, 2016, Izzo was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.[22] Izzo chose former Maryland head coach Gary Williams to introduce him at the Hall of Fame ceremony.[23] He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on September 9, 2016.[24]

In the Fall of 2016, Izzo was named to the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Hall of Fame. [25]

Coaching philosophy

We'll play anybody, anyplace, anytime. It doesn't matter, morning, noon or night, and it doesn't matter who it is.

Tom Izzo [26]

Izzo's teams are known for strong guard play, toughness and rebounding. Izzo is famed for his "war" rebounding drill, in which the players wear football helmets and shoulder pads.[27] His motto is "Players Play – Tough Players Win".[28] His other coaching philosophies include, "he doesn't determine playing time, players do" and "A player-coached team is better than a coach-coached team." Izzo is also known for scheduling extremely tough non-conference schedules as preparation for the NCAA tournament in March.

High school player recruiting

High School All-Americans

Nineteen High School All-Americans have played for Tom Izzo at MSU:

M = McDonald's All-Americans; J = Jordan Brand All-Americans

Mr. Basketball

15 different Mr. Basketball winners have played for Tom Izzo at MSU.

Mr. Basketball of Michigan




  • 2006: Isaiah Dahlman, Braham

College player development

National Player of the Year Awards

Under Izzo, two Spartans have earned National Player of the Year awards:

College All-America honors

Under Izzo, Spartans that have earned All-America honors:

All-Big Ten

Under Izzo, six players have been named Big Ten Player of the Year. 13 of his players have earned first team All-Big Ten conference recognition while 18 have been named All-Big Ten second team..

Big Ten Player of the Year

First Team

Second Team

Sixth Man of the Year

Freshman of the Year

Defensive Player of the Year

NBA player development

NBA Draft

Since he took over as head coach, 22 Michigan State players under him have been selected in the NBA draft, with 11 of those players being drafted in the first round. The players are: [30]

1996248Jamie FeickPhiladelphia 76ers
2000114Mateen CleavesDetroit Pistons
2000121Morris PetersonToronto Raptors
200115Jason RichardsonGolden State Warriors
2001119Zach RandolphPortland Trail Blazers
2001251Andre HutsonMilwaukee Bucks
2002251Marcus TaylorMinnesota Timberwolves
2005246Erazem LorbekIndiana Pacers
2006125Shannon BrownCleveland Cavaliers
2006128Maurice AgerDallas Mavericks
2006234Paul DavisLos Angeles Clippers
2009250Goran SutonUtah Jazz
2012235Draymond GreenGolden State Warriors
2014115Adreian PayneAtlanta Hawks
2014119Gary HarrisChicago Bulls
2015256Branden DawsonNew Orleans Pelicans
2016114Denzel ValentineChicago Bulls
2016231Deyonta DavisBoston Celtics
201814Jaren Jackson Jr.Memphis Grizzlies
2018112Miles BridgesLos Angeles Clippers
2020235Xavier TillmanSacramento Kings
2020253Cassius WinstonOklahoma City Thunder

Undrafted players to appear in the NBA

NFL Draft

Two former Spartan basketball players have joined the National Football League after the conclusion of their college basketball careers.

NBA championships

Coaching tree

Three of Izzo's former assistants are currently head coaches at other schools:

One of Izzo's former assistants was a head coach in the NBA:

Several former Izzo assistants were college head coaches:

Current Izzo assistants who were previously college head coaches:

Other basketball endeavors

USA basketball

Izzo was head coach of the USA Basketball men's team that took fourth place at the 2003 Pan American Games. Prior to that, he was assistant coach of the team that had a 5–0 record and won the gold medal at the 2001 Goodwill Games. Izzo served on the Collegiate Committee of USA Basketball's 2005–2008 Quadrennium Committees.[31]

Operation Hardwood

In 2005 and 2006, Izzo participated in Operation Hardwood, in which college coaches went to Kuwait military camps to coach basketball teams of American service members. Among the other coaches were Tubby Smith, Gary Williams, and Rick Barnes. In 2005, Izzo's team won the tournament championship.

Marriage and family

Tom Izzo has been married to his wife, Lupe Marinez Izzo, since 1992. They have a daughter, Raquel, and an adopted son, Steven. Steven is a walk-on player for his father at Michigan State.[32][33]

Head coaching record

Statistics overview
Michigan State Spartans (Big Ten Conference) (1995–present)
1995–96Michigan State16–169–97thNIT Second Round
1996–97Michigan State17–129–9T–6thNIT Second Round
1997–98Michigan State22–813–3T–1stNCAA Division I Sweet 16
1998–99Michigan State33–515–11stNCAA Division I Final Four
1999–00Michigan State32–713–3T–1stNCAA Division I Champion
2000–01Michigan State28–513–3T–1stNCAA Division I Final Four
2001–02Michigan State19–1210–65thNCAA Division I Round of 64
2002–03Michigan State22–1310–6T–3rdNCAA Division I Elite Eight
2003–04Michigan State18–1212–4T–2ndNCAA Division I Round of 64
2004–05Michigan State26–713–32ndNCAA Division I Final Four
2005–06Michigan State22–128–8T–6thNCAA Division I Round of 64
2006–07Michigan State23–128–8T–7thNCAA Division I Round of 32
2007–08Michigan State27–912–64thNCAA Division I Sweet 16
2008–09Michigan State31–715–31stNCAA Division I Runner-Up
2009–10Michigan State28–914–4T–1stNCAA Division I Final Four
2010–11Michigan State19–159–9T–4thNCAA Division I Round of 64
2011–12Michigan State29–813–5T–1stNCAA Division I Sweet 16
2012–13Michigan State27–913–5T–2ndNCAA Division I Sweet 16
2013–14Michigan State29–912–6T–2ndNCAA Division I Elite Eight
2014–15Michigan State27–1212–6T–3rdNCAA Division I Final Four
2015–16Michigan State29–613–52ndNCAA Division I Round of 64
2016–17Michigan State20–1510–8T–5thNCAA Division I Round of 32
2017–18Michigan State30–516–21stNCAA Division I Round of 32
2018–19Michigan State32–716–4T–1stNCAA Division I Final Four
2019–20Michigan State22–914–6T–1stPostseason canceled due to COVID-19
2020–21Michigan State15–139–11T–8thNCAA Division I First Four
2021–22Michigan State14–35–1
Michigan State:657–257 (.719)316–144 (.687)
Total:657–257 (.719)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

Current through January 12, 2022

See also


  1. ^ "NCAA Salaries". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  2. ^ Hogan, John (July 19, 2008). "Sunday Profile: Tom Izzo, Da Hooper". Grand Rapids Press. Archived from the original on July 31, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2016.
  3. ^ [1] Michigan State's Tom Izzo is college hoops' best coach, bar none Retrieved January 23, 2011
  4. ^ Wire, SI. "Shaq, Iverson, Ming headline Hall of Fame class". Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  5. ^ Katz, Andy (May 7, 2007). "Spartans' performance stacks up against anyone's". ESPN. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  6. ^ "Tom Izzo moved up to No. 2 in all-time Big Ten wins but didn't like how he did it". Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  7. ^ "Watch Tom Izzo: Inside Michigan State Basketball".
  8. ^ Tom Izzo Biography Archived July 30, 2012, at Retrieved June 19, 2010
  9. ^ Tom Van Riper (March 5, 2012). "The highest-paid college basketball coaches". Forbes. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
  10. ^ Izzo sets Michigan State record for wins as Spartans cruise CBS Sports. Retrieved June 19, 2010
  11. ^ Report: Hawks make offer to Izzo", May 12, 2000, retrieved August 7, 2006
  12. ^ "Izzo not interested in Raptors, plans to stay put Archived April 21, 2005, at the Wayback Machine" by Kelly Theiser, The State News, June 15, 2004, retrieved August 7, 2006
  13. ^ "Tom to Tucson: Izzo Top Candidate for Arizona Job" by Chris Domschke "The Beardown" "" November 14, 2008, retrieved November 21, 2008
  14. ^ IZZO STAYS A SPARTAN WLNS-TV 6 Lansing, Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  15. ^ "The 10 angriest coaches in college basketball". USA Today.
  16. ^ "Izzo wins 500th, fueled by Valentine triple-double". Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Izzo cherishes chance to pass 'unlucky' Keady in B1G wins". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  18. ^ Rutherford, Mike (March 18, 2016). "Middle Tennessee State's win over Michigan State is the biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history". Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  19. ^ "Izzo: "They resurrected me"". SpartanTailgate. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  20. ^ "Spartans' Tom Izzo wins Dean Smith Award". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved October 13, 2016.
  21. ^ "Spartans No. 1 in AP preseason poll for 1st time". October 21, 2019. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  22. ^ "'It's surreal': MSU's Izzo makes Hall of Fame". Detroit News. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  23. ^ "Former Maryland coach Gary Williams to introduce Tom Izzo at Hall of Fame enshrinement". Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  24. ^ "After making the Hall of Fame, only one goal remains for Tom Izzo". September 11, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  25. ^ "View Hall of Fame Inductees".
  26. ^ McNeill, Kevin (November 19, 2005). "Maui Invitational: Strength of Schedule". Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  27. ^ Shelton, Gary. "Spartans are bruisers, and proud of it". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  28. ^ Ken Mannie; Mike Vorkapich. "Spartan Basketball – Training With a Football Mentality". Coach and Athletic Director. Scholastic Corporation. Archived from the original on May 9, 2006. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  29. ^ "Michigan Mr. Basketball: Clarkston's Foster Loyer wins in runaway vote". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  30. ^ Spartans in the NBA Archived January 19, 2013, at Retrieved June 19, 2010
  31. ^ "USA Basketball: USA Basketball 2001–2004 Quadrennium Committees". January 18, 2002. Archived from the original on December 29, 2005. Retrieved May 10, 2009.
  32. ^ "Tom Izzo". Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  33. ^ "Tom Izzo's Wife, Lupe Marinez Izzo". Retrieved April 17, 2018.

External links