EAST LANSING - The 10th annual Izzone Campout was held this past weekend starting at
7am on Saturday morning and ending at 8am Sunday. This amazing gathering
of tough, grizzled students ready to take on the cold weather come
sundown took place on Munn Field, on the MSU campus in East Lansing just
across from the Breslin Center.
Michigan State is one of the few schools that place their student
section in the lower bowl courtside, with alumni and the general public
being seated behind. With only 1,843 lower bowl seats available, it creates
a frenzy to buy these tickets, thus students have to show their
dedication for basketball, by showing up to games early and missing no more
than two games in a season, in order to be eligible for lower bowl
Hosted by the Michigan State Student Alumni Foundation (SAF), the
organization made sure that the nearly 2,000 students camping out would not
go bored or hungry during the event. Several vendors from Rice Kitchen
to Papianos were on site to sell food for a reduced price.
Just as soon as the tents were up on Saturday morning, the Breslin
Center doors were opened to let the Izzone campers indoors to watch the MSU
football team take on Pittsburgh at noon on the jumbo-tron above the
basketball court. After watching an impressive MSU football win, people
stuck around to watch the hated Michigan Wolverines take on Notre Dame
in one of the biggest games of the weekend.
As nighttime rolled around, the temperature began to drop, but the fun
had just begun. There were students everywhere on the fields, throwing
footballs, playing soccer, baseball, kickball, ultimate Frisbee, and
just playing catch with baseball gloves. Everyone was just killing time
awaiting the coach who made it all possible.
The night was just getting started as a huge roar was heard throughout
when the sights of Tom Izzo rolled into Munn Field around 9pm. Izzo had
been in Pittsburgh earlier in the day supporting the football team, but
made sure he got back in time to speak at his event.
Izzo brought with him his family and the entire basketball team,
featuring the first public appearances for the three new freshman recruits on
the team: Tom Herzog, Raymar Morgan, and Isaiah Dahlman.
Izzo proceed to speak on stage to the students, and then had the
players introduce themselves.
What sets apart any other basketball program in the country is what
happened after Izzo and the players were done. They all stuck around for
hours mingling with the students and signing autographs for anybody.
Drew Neitzel was signing autographs at one spot, Tom Herzog sat down
and played cards with a group of campers, Marquise Gray bummed a slice of
pizza from a random camper, and Idong Ibok took pictures with students
who were much shorter than him, making the pictures hilarious because
of the height difference. Raymar Morgan camped out in a tent with some
of his friends
After a swarm of autograph seekers, Tom Izzo participated in a game of
sandbag toss and threw the football around with students. Izzo’s
11-year-old daughter Raquel and 5-year-old son Steven along with his wife
Lupe, also joined him at the event, with Raquel bringing along four of her
Proving that he is one of the nicest and down to earth coaches in
college basketball, Tom Izzo and his family put up their tents and slept
alongside all of the students outside in the cold.
There were students awake into the early morning around 4:00am before the
final batch finally went to sleep.
At 8am, the final check for attendance came and it was time to pack up
and go, with most students such as myself, heading back to the dorms to
continue sleeping, this time in a warm bed indoors.
Overall, the Izzone Campout is still going strong every year, and as
long as Tom Izzo is head coach at MSU, which many hope he will be, Men’s
Basketball will be a treat to camp out for every year.
It’s when you first step foot in the lower bowl on the opening game of
the basketball season that it proves that the campout was well worth