Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tom Izzo says: "I am here for life at Michigan State."

The wait is over for Michigan State Spartan and Cleveland Cavalier fans: Tom Izzo is staying in East Lansing.

For over a week, Izzo has been keeping the sports world guessing about whether or not he would leave MSU to head to the NBA and coach at Cleveland. It was definitely something to consider, as Cleveland was offering him double his salary and the potential to coach LeBron James. Izzo was quoted saying that the entire staff of the Cavaliers were nothing but classy and that "just as [he] decided to stay home, [he] hopes a 6-8, 270-pound forward in Cleveland decides to stay home."

Izzo is one of three coaches (the other two being Duke's Mike Krzyzweski and the late John Wooden of UCLA) to take his team to the Final Four of the NCAA Basketball Tournament 6 times in 12 years. Izzo not only represents Michigan State basketball, "he is a natural resource of the state of Michigan", according to Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis.

In his live press conference, Izzo discussed how he didn't want to leave Michigan State, even though he knew it was a decision-making process that he had to go through. In the Q&A portion, he said that he never spoke to LeBron James directly, and he also never got to the point where he thought he was going to end up in Cleveland. As he got emotional at the podium, his players showed their support and hugged him on their way out to go watch game 6 of the NBA finals.

Later on in the press conference, Izzo got into a "town hall meeting-style debate" with some of the media personnel (one man in particular). Lynn Henning of the Detroit News was making some fairly accusatory remarks about who (the media or Tom) turned Izzo's 9-day decision-making process into a  "media circus". Izzo handled the situation with complete class, but did not take any of Henning's comments lying down. After a solid fifteen minutes of debate, Michigan State University President Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon stepped in to tell Henning that they were no longer going to discuss the topic, but Izzo stopped her saying, "let him talk, we'll finish this out. But if you want to keep debating after this, pick a date and time and we will talk in my office."

All in all, he hopes that the fans understood why he had to consider another opportunity, but that he is a lifer and will be staying at Michigan State for the duration of his career.

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