Go For It, Tom!

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

With many apologies to MSU fans everywhere, this State fan wants Tom to take the Cleveland job.

"Why don't you stick my head in the lion's mouth-- step on my head while I'm drowning?"

Those words from Vince Vaughn might describe the backlash I get from MSU fans for saying this, but-- I THINK TOM IZZO SHOULD TAKE THE CLEVELAND JOB.

First, let me state clearly-- I want badly for Tom to return and coach this team that will likely be a preseason #1 and back in the Final Four with a great shot for a national championship.  But damn me to maize and blue hell for saying, I want to see what Tom can do in the NBA coaching one of the greatest players ever.  I want to see what the guy who wins on one-day's preparation in the NCAA tournament can do with a 7-game series in the NBA.  I want to see how he will overhaul his persona to fit professional athletes (because if people think he'll go into the League guns a-blazing and getting in the face of pro guys, they're nuts).  I want to see him become just the second coach to ever win NCAA and NBA titles.

Pitino says stay if he's happy.  Vitale says he'll get fired.  I say he'll become one of the greatest coaches of all-time.

College coaches can be great pro coaches.  Pitino was good with the Knicks and Larry Brown was good with a few teams.  The problem is all you hear is "college coaches can't go pro" because it's bombarded by the fans trying to keep their college coach from leaving.  When Pitino failed in Boston, and Calipari failed in New Jersey, and Lon Kruger failed in Atlanta, they were totally rebuilding bottomed-out programs.  Izzo would be taking over a team guaranteed a spot in the conference finals. 

I'm tired of seeing fans ripping the coach for running for the money.  First, every fan saying that would bolt to the dark side of the moon if they got an offer doubling their salary.  Second, it's not about the money in my opinion.  It's about taking a shot at one of your life's goals (coaching in the NBA) and coaching LeBron James at the same time.  It's flat out a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Coach Izzo and anyone who doesn't understand why he's seriously thinking about it is plain selfish.

Izzo has long said he doesn't want to coach as long as Jud did, so you have to reason he has about five years left.  He could easily give everything for a five-year run with the Cavs and win an NBA title-- or three.  If he does, he's one of the best ever.  If he doesn't, he's still a college hall-of-famer, but yes, with a tarnished legacy.  But I think he has a better chance of winning an NBA title than he does an NCAA title in those five years.

My fear is if Tom stays, is this team will quit on him.  It's obvious there are serious issues between these players and the coach.  Some quit on him last year, but he brought them back and motivated them.  Tom has an in-your-face approach and it's obviously worn thin on some of this team.  A team that splintered a bit last year as well.  I think it's possible a new coach can win a national title with next year's MSU basketball team.  If that new coach was Brian Gregory, it's a good chance.  He's similar to Izzo in the style he runs, recruited Adrian Payne to Dayton, and is not as blustery with his players.

Maybe these players need a breath of fresh air.  But, don't get me wrong-- nobody is better qualified to lead the 2010-11 Spartans to a title than Tom Izzo. 

Boy, I sure do want Tom Izzo to stay at MSU.  But, I want to see him coach LeBron James to an NBA title a little more.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by trish Location: williamston on Jun 17, 2010 at 08:21 AM
    So Jason, now that the Izzo drama is over are you going to start covering/give updates to the WILX softball team?
  • by Burt Location: Ovid on Jun 12, 2010 at 12:02 PM
    Good article Jason. It is obvious that you put some thought into it. I,however, hope that he stays. I dont think his coaching style will work in the NBA. If he go's I will wish him well but, I sure hope he STAY'S!!!
  • by Brock Location: Lansing on Jun 12, 2010 at 09:46 AM
    Consider you fandom questioned. If Tom leaves he will have no chance at leaving the legacy that I believe he wants. If you ask the question, name the 5 best coaches of all time? Maybe one professional coach will be mentioned, Red Auerbach. The rest will be college coaches. Outside of Cleveland no one will care about Tom Izzo or that team. College teams are beloved across the county because of their fans for life that are created by attending their particular University. Spartan nation has a much farther reach than the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tom Izzo's legacy lies in that, if he moves to the professional level he will have no chance of achieving the popularity or legacy of the all time greats. This is the opportunity of a life time, to recognize that the disconnect between college and professional sports is greater than ever and that college fans love the game and their University and those are not the same fans who watch the NBA. Coach K knows this and hopefully Tom does too.
  • by Stew Location: Lansing on Jun 11, 2010 at 02:34 PM
    While the hell would you say a thing like that? You want to see Izzo coach somewhere else other than MSU? I thought you went to MSU, and you don't want what's best for your alma mater? Clearly, Walter Cronkite would want Izzo to stay at MSU...
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