Tom Izzo was officially inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame on Friday night.
His speech was … well, it was an acceptance speech. He went for about 15 minutes, thanking his parents and his wife and his kids. He spoke about Jud Heathcoate, the legendary head coach that hired him at MSU, and Steve Marriucci, his best friend since high school. He mostly read off of the teleprompter, but he did manage to get the crowd laughing with a couple of one-liners: He accused his son of picking against him in an NCAA tournament pool and he told Marriucci that his help with film sessions last March “sucked”.
Izzo also thanked his former players.
“As a coach, I don’t get to make game winning shots to clutch free throws,” he said. “I’m only here on the shoulders of your accomplishments. I’m able to laugh with you and cry with you. I was there with your for the tough times but I also got to watch you live your dream. Winning a championship, making it to the NBA or most importantly, becoming the first one of your family to graduate college.”
“There are too many to name everyone, but from the Player of the Year to the last one on the bench, you’ve all had a profound effect on my career. And I hope you all share in this honor with me tonight.”
He did mention Eric Snow and Shawn Respert and Travis Walton. He also talked about the importance of Steve Smith, his first recruit at Michigan State, and Draymond Green, who turned into an NBA champion and an Olympic gold medalist after leaving Michigan State. He did not mention Mateen Cleaves, his former point guard and his son’s (Stephen Mateen Izzo) namesake. Cleaves is currently in the midst of a legal battle.
He named five former assistants that were in attendance. He thanked four members of his coaching staff that made it to Springfield for the celebration. He thanked Vince Lombardi and Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio and Mark Hollis. He thanked two different Michigan State presidents.