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Tum Tum Nairn makes Olympic history with former Michigan player

Tum Tum has made history.



Former Michigan State point guard Tum Tum Nairn dribbles up the floor.
© Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan State hooper Tum Tum Nairn has made Olympic history with one of his Bowling Green players.

Believe it or not, former Michigan State basketball player Tum Tum Nairn is making Olympic history.

Despite his playing days being over and him being the associate head coach at Bowling Green (a job title he just earned this offseason), Nairn is heading to the Olympic qualifiers over the next couple of weeks to try and lead the Bahamas to the Paris Olympics. It’s rare to see a coach represent his country as a player in the Olympic qualifiers, but Nairn is doing just that.

On Tuesday, Nairn’s Bahamian team beat Finland — led by Lori Markkanen — in the first qualifying game of group play.

By competing in these Olympics, Nairn is making history as one of his Bowling Green players (and former Michigan Wolverine), Youssef Khayat, is also representing his country (Lebanon) in the games. Khayat just scored 20 points against Spain on Tuesday. This is the first time that a college basketball coach and player on the same team participated in the same Olympics.

I tried to fact-check this and I couldn’t find any other coach-player Olympic duos. This may be the first time a basketball coach and player at the collegiate level have ever competed in the Olympics at the same time.

Nairn was one of the best leaders during the Tom Izzo era and although he never really took off offensively, he was a great guy to have around. He was important for the growth of Cassius Winston. He also joined the coaching staff as an assistant and some fans even want him back when Izzo retires.

Now, his coaching career is taking off and he’s representing the Bahamas in the Olympics. He may not be playing a ton or putting up big numbers, but he’s still an Olympian — if he qualifies. This is really cool Olympic history for the former Michigan State point guard.

Writer, co-owner of Spartan Shadows. Michigan State and college football expert at FanSided and formerly of The Detroit News. Expert on all things Michigan State. Connor Muldowney has written about Michigan State since graduating from the university with a degree in journalism back in 2013. Ten years of experience as a Michigan State writer/reporter.


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