Four-time National Coach of the Year Posts One of Nation’s Top Division I Graduation Rates
LOS ANGELES (October 13, 2010) – Michigan State University Head Basketball Coach Tom Izzo will be awarded the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2011, Los Angeles Athletic Club President Steve Hathaway announced today.
Coach Izzo begins his 16th year directing the Spartan program and has won six Big Ten Conference regular season titles and has made six Final Four appearances, including in 2010. His team won the NCAA title in 2000, led by a Wooden Award All American that year, Mateen Cleaves.
Izzo will be recognized, along with the men’s and women’s 2011 John R. Wooden Award winners and the Wooden Award All American teams, at the Los Angeles Athletic Club in April, 2011. The “Legends of Coaching” award was adopted by the Wooden Award Committee in 1999. The first recipient was Dean Smith of North Carolina. The award recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standards of coaching success and personal integrity. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rates of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award.
Coach Izzo has graduated 83% of his players who have completed their eligibility, and posts a career record of 346-164. His teams have appeared in 13 straight NCAA tournaments, where his winning percentage of 74.5% ranks third among active coaches, just behind former Legends of Coaching winners Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and North Carolina’s Roy Williams. Izzo’s 69.6% win percentage for his career in Big Ten games is second all-time among league coaches.
Izzo first came to MSU in 1983 as an assistant coach under legendary Spartan coach Jud Heathcote. Prior to joining the Spartans, he had been an assistant at Northern Michigan, his alma mater, where he was a third-team All-American as a player in 1977.
Known as a teacher as well as a coach, Izzo boasts five former assistants currently guiding their own programs. He is also active charitably with the V Foundation, and with Coaches vs. Cancer. In 2009, he was honored with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award, recognizing his leadership in the fight against cancer.