After being dubbed “washed” by some fans of Michigan State basketball and most rivals, Tom Izzo has proven that it’s not the case.
Twelve years ago, Tom Izzo had to sit down with his family and make a decision about his future with Michigan State basketball.
The Cleveland Cavaliers had come calling, offering to double his MSU salary where he would also have a chance to coach LeBron James (LeBron eventually left the Cavaliers for the Heat). He had to decide if coaching in the NBA was really his dream or if he was happy being a successful college coach with a seemingly endless leash.
Izzo had gone to back-to-back Final Fours for the second time in his career and his stock was at an all-time high. It made sense that he was a top NBA head coaching candidate.
After what felt like an eternity of waiting, fans watched as Izzo made the decision to turn down the NBA (again) and return to Michigan State “for life.”
At the time, that proclamation of “Spartan lifer” seemed like just an expression to show he was in it for the long run. On Thursday, about 12 years and two months later, he made that term official. Izzo signed an extension, making him a “Spartan for life.”
Spartan for Life.
Coach Tom Izzo signs a new contract with Michigan State Basketball. pic.twitter.com/nQ8wfFX51d
— Michigan State Athletics (@MSU_Athletics) August 11, 2022
Everyone expected him to remain with Michigan State until he retired, but this move just goes to show that he feels like he has a lot left in the tank. And it’s going to pay dividends for recruiting.
Izzo’s stability will help future recruiting classes and he’s going to be around for a while.
Plus, this proves that he found his second wind.
After a couple of pedestrian seasons, per his standards, it felt like Izzo was entering the twilight years much like Mark Dantonio did. It felt like he was gearing up for an upcoming retirement — potentially after his son graduated.
Not so fast (*in my best Lee Corso voice*).
Izzo has always said that he’ll be done coaching when he’s not having fun anymore. Clearly, after the past few weeks, he’s still having fun. He just completed one of the best recruiting classes of his entire tenure and he’s heading into the 2022-23 season with an extremely close-knit team.
Right when it looked like Izzo was about to ride off into the sunset in a couple of years, he signs a five-year deal that could pay him up to $6.2 million per year. And he pieced together a top-five recruiting class for 2023.
He’s not done yet.
Counting Izzo out is probably the worst thing anyone could do because he just comes back stronger. He loves being overlooked because that’s when he strikes and has his most successful seasons.
A run is coming. No. 2 is coming. Izzo is about to mess around and cut down some nets in the years to come.