Those that have read this blog long enough know that I am a huge Michigaan State fan. As such I am also a huge admirer of Tom Izzo. In case you haven't been paying attention, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in hot pursuit of Izzo for their vacant head coaching position. Izzo met with the team's ownership and leadership for several hours last Friday.
He came back saying he was undecided about whether to leave for Cleveland or to stay in East Lansing. He continued to repeat that to the MSU basketball team and to the media throughout the weekend.
Izzo has always done the right thing in every facet of his life. I can't think of anything he hasn't handled in a classy manner. So why the delay in this decision? Why holdup MSU's ability to search for a replacement? Why keep the Cleveland Cavaliers dangling, with free agency for their star player looming in the near future?
The answer hit me yesterday.
Click here for story: From The Detroit News: Izzo Opens Youth Basketball Camp At The Breslin Center
Remember, Tom Izzo always tries to do the right thing. Well, with 500 youths signed up to attend his youth camp, Izzo wouldn't want to do something to undermine that. Those young people signed up for a camp with Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo. Izzo didn't want to disappoint those kids.
So that is one of the reasons I believe Izzo is already gone. He just didn't like the timing of having to make the announcement.
Also, I find it hard to believe that the Cleveland Cavaliers would allow one candidate to hold up their coaching search at such a critical time. With their star player, Lebron James, set to become a free agent July 1st, Dan Gilbert, the team's owner, wants to make sure he has all the pieces in place to get James to resign with the Cavs. Izzo taking his own sweet time to decide wouldn't be prudent for that cause.
Finally, the decision to stay would be quicker than the decision to leave. If Izzo were staying he'd have announced that by now. No way does the entire weekend go by if he is going to stay. Again, the timing of an announcement to leave for the Cavs coaching job would be bad because of the youth camp.
So in my book Izzo is gone. It is time for Michigan State to start getting a new coach ready to take over the program. And don't think this doesn't hurt the program. This is analogous to Dean Smith retiring at North Carolina. This is as big as if Mike Krzyzewski were to leave Duke. Can the program recover? Of course it can. Will it recover is the question.
If Tom Izzo stays I will be happy to come back on this blog and admit I was wrong. However, all of the signs: the length of the consideration of the decision, the Cavs not being in a position to wait, and Izzo not wanting to ruin the youth camp for hundreds of young people, all point me to believe that Coach Izzo is already in Cleveland.
Regardless of his decision, I want to say a sincere thank you to Tom Izzo. Mr. Izzo, you are a classy, great, down to earth guy. I had the privilege of meeting you once, and you were gracious and treated my wife and I as if you had known us your whole life. Thanks for all the great memories, both on and off the basketball court.
"Thank you coach Izzo."