Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis and head coach Tom Izzo have come up with some interesting ideas when it comes to the Spartans’ non-conference schedule over the years.
Michigan State has taken on many high-profile challenges and played in some interesting environments, such as their game on an aircraft carrier against North Carolina two years ago and the matchup with UConn at Ramstein Air Base to kick off the 2012-13 campaign.
According to Joe Rexrode of the Detroit Free Press there’s another idea in the works, as Hollis is looking to organize a four-team tournament in Spokane to honor former Michigan State head coach Jud Heathcoate.
“Like the events we’ve had before, this is something that’s being put together for the good of the game of basketball,” Hollis told the Free Press, “and to recognize a true legend of the game.”
But this won’t be your standard four-team event, as Heathcoate will have ties to all four schools: Michigan State, Gonzaga, Montana and Washington State.
Heathcoate served as an assistant at Washington State before taking the head coaching job at Montana, and from there he moved on to Michigan State where he won a national title in 1979 with players such as Magic Johnson and Greg Kelser leading the way.
Heathcoate is currently a resident of Spokane and his relationship with the Gonzaga program and head coach Mark Few serves as the reason why the Bulldogs would be involved.
The proposed match-ups would be good, with Michigan State taking on Gonzaga in what would be a marquee battle that would draw national interest and two-time defending Big Sky champion Montana battling a Washington State program looking to rebound from a disappointing 2012-13 campaign.
Hopefully this event happens on two fronts. First, there’s the angle of having two competitive early-season basketball games.
But more importantly, it would serve as a way to bring together those who have been influenced by Heathcoate and allow them to show their appreciation.