Right now things at Michigan State are getting a bit touchy as the media frenzy has started on the future of men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo. While some feel the longtime head coach will stay in East Lansing, many others have him headed to the NBA and the city of Cleveland.
In a no-win situation, Michigan State is stuck in the middle waiting to hear from Izzo as rumors, internet buzz and media members look to have the scoop before anyone else. While stuck in the middle, the MSU athletic department did release the following statements.
Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon:
“I am in regular contact with AD Mark Hollis. I can assure everyone Team MSU is all on the same page in wanting to keep Tom as a Spartan. MSU has many renowned, respected, and highly sought individuals; Tom Izzo surely is one of them.”
What else should be expected from Simon? Much like everyone else she’s a giant supporter of the many coaches at the university. She has shown a strong role in working to keep MSU athletics at the forefront of the Big Ten and on the national scene. Like Spartan fans near and far, she’s caught in wanting what’s best for the university while also wanting what is best for a coach that has done so much for the university. She knows college sports have become big business and when you have a successful coach like Tom Izzo, others call wanting to take him away.
But while Simon can look more as a fan, athletic director Mark Hollis has to take a straight business approach to all the talk of Izzo’s possible departure. This comes through strong and clear in his statement to the media.
Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis:
“I’ve been straightforward from the beginning. Nothing has changed from my initial statement, and yet, there have been many ridiculous reports. I’m angry at the impact they have on student-athletes, coaches, wives and children, and other people at universities and organizations. Tom Izzo is the head basketball coach at Michigan State University.”
This is a standard statement that should be expected from a strong leader. Nothing has come across his desk stating his current coach is set to leave. And going after those who’ve made statements of a coaching change does cause problems for those he talked about.
Has Hollis been caught off guard with the possibility of Izzo leaving? He might have been. But he knows he’s got one of college basketball’s top coaches and understands coaches also have goals and dreams like everyone else that are different from where they are at now.
Make no mistake that Mark Hollis and President Simon will do all they can to keep Tom Izzo on campus for many years to come. But with all the talk of his departure, only one person can stop the talk, rumors and reports on the future of Michigan State basketball. And that is Tom Izzo himself.
Keep in mind, Tom Izzo is also looking deep within before making his decision on moving forward at Michigan State or taking the challenge of the NBA.
Just a few years ago I covered then Cincinnati head coach Mark Dantonio as he was being pursued by Michigan State. Much like Tom Izzo, the current Spartans head coach had to make a hard decision about his and his family’s future. It took Mark Dantonio some time and some hard soul searching before he made up his mind. I’m sure Tom Izzo is having some of the same thoughts his friend had just a few years ago.