Jud Heathcote, who won a national championship and 416 games in over a 30-year, has died, Michigan State announced Monday night.
He was 90 years old.
“The basketball world is a sadder place today with the passing of Jud Heathcote,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “No one cared more about the welfare of the game than Jud. He was a coach’s coach and a mentor to many. Our hearts are filled with sadness and deepest sympathy for his wife Beverly and the Heathcote family.
“Without a doubt, he was one of the most influential people in my life, giving me a chance when no one else would. Any coaching success I’ve ever had is because of him. Long after he left Michigan State, he was still one of the first people I would call when I had a tough decision to make in coaching or life.
“Michigan State has lost one of its icons today. And yet, nothing can erase his impact on the program, the players he coached and the coaches he mentored. SPartan basketball is what it is today because of Jud Heathcote.”
Heathcote won 336 games coaching the Spartans from 1976 until 1995 after starting his head coaching career at Montana. Heathcote, Magic Johnson and the Spartans won the 1979 NCAA tournament championship. In his career, Heathcote won three Big Ten regular season titles and went to nine NCAA tournaments.
“Coach Heathcote had an impact on so many people,” Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis said in a statement. “For me, he was among the best teachers I had the opportunity to be around. Reflecting on my career and life, Jud was among the most influential people in regards to my preparation for both.
“He will be missed, yet his memory will be seen through the many different people he impacted. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Bev and the entire Heathcote family.”