It was the worst kept secret in the nation that was made official today when Tom Izzo was announced as one of the newest members of the Naismith Hall of Fame. It is a well-deserved honor.
Tom Izzo has led the Spartans to a 524-205 record as the head man of the Spartans. He has one national title, 19 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament, 16 NBA draft picks, eight national coach of the year honors and seven Final Four appearances as well as seven Big Ten Championships.
There is a panel of 24 voters who choose each candidate. It requires a minimum of 18 votes to get in. The official event will take place on Friday September 9th at 6:30 PM at the Great Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts. That is a “bye” weekend for Spartan Football. CLICK HERE TO GET TICKETS!
Izzo is also joined entering the Hall of Fame this year with him by Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry Reinsdorf, Yao Ming and Sheryl Swoopes.
Back in February Izzo said of potentially at the time making the Hall of Fame that, “It’s an unbelievable honor. It’s one I didn’t dream about. I can’t say I dreamed about being in the Hall of Fame. I was there once and that was a lot, a lot of years ago. It wasn’t something. I don’t even know if it was on a wish list to tell you the truth because it just seemed so farfetched and I said, what has been the greatest thing that has happened to me since they told me that, is every once in a while when I let myself go, I’m in California, and I’m on a plane for five hours or off the beaten path, I just kind of remember back all the great teams and the guys that have helped me get to here and it’s why I feel my job is to help them get to their dreams and goals. The difference with this is, I’m not sure it was a dream. I’m not sure if it was a goal. It was almost like too far out there to be a dream and thank God for the guys that got me here, the assistant coaches and everybody else. And I guess it’s put in where it’s now a dream. But I don’t lose sleep over it.”
Izzo went on to add about being admitted to the Hall of Fame that, “They say if it happens, then I think you lose sleep over it but right now I’m just try to look at, Matt (Larson, MSU SID) will give me some things, of who’s in there and I think about some of the people that I know that are in there and sometimes I say I don’t deserve to be in there in that group and that’s not humble, that’s real and yet we’ve accomplished some great things thanks to the players that have accomplished them for me and so like everybody else, sometimes individual accolades come with team success. If we were 300-300, I could’ve coached every bit as good and wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. I understand that the chance of getting there is due to what players have really done for you and what a cool, cool thing that you know that’s the reason you have a chance to be there.”
For the humble pride of the Upper Peninsula Izzo continued to discuss the Hall of Fame being more of a team win, “You can be a good guy. You can be a great coach, but if you aren’t winning a lot of games and doing some incredible things, you aren’t getting there. So when I say to the players, I don’t say that again, humbly. That is the swear to God truth. That is the way it is. That part of it is exciting to me because I think some of those guys, when they call and said something and I said ‘yeah, it’s thanks to you or thanks to you or thanks to you’, I’m hoping and feeling and thinking they’re taking some ownership in my success, just like, I love being in the room on draft night and taking just a little bit of their big night and that’s kind of the way I’ve looked at it.”
Tom Izzo is not only a man I cover, but my friend. If I had sat down to write his comments I couldn’t have written in better. Well said Coach Izzo. Congratulations my friend, Tom.