It’s being reported everywhere, now, that Tom Izzo is turning down the head coaching job offered by the Cleveland Cavaliers and staying in East Lansing as coach of the Spartans. Chris Broussard stated on ESPN moments ago that , in addition to Izzo’s love of coaching at Michigan State, Izzo is not taking the position in Cleveland largely because he “couldn’t get assurance from LeBron James that LeBron would be back in Cleveland,” but noted that this is due to lack of contact between the two, not because LeBron left Izzo with doubts after a conversation. By all accounts, such a conversation never happened.
Spartan fans had reason to be nervous just before the reports began to surface that Izzo was staying; his future still uncertain, he called a team meeting before confirming he was going to remain as the Michigan State coach, a sequence of events that one could have taken to mean that he was about to accept the job with the Cavs. This now can only mean that he simply wanted to first alert his players to the good news as any responsible coach would do, and not have them receive it via television or tweet.
That’s why it’s good for college basketball that this man sticks in East Lansing. Anyone who remembers how he struggled to keep his composure when asked in a post-game interview about the welfare of Kalin Lucas after Lucas tore his Achilles’ tendon knows how much he cares about his players off the court as much as on it (that’s just one example). His players love him, he’s polite, affable, even self-effacing, as evidenced by the fact that he apologized for taking so long to come to a decision about this job offer. Clevelanders certainly can’t be too mad at him, since he included in his statements an entreaty that LeBron hang around as a Cavalier.