Spartan Comes Home

By: Dan Hedman
By: Dan Hedman

After 6 seasons as an assistant at Michigan State -- Mike Garland was encouraged by Tom Izzo to try and turn around Cleveland State's basketball program. But after 3 seasons, the Vikings were just 23-and-60 under Izzo's protege, and Garland accepted a job at Southern Methodist University for the 2006 season.

But with the exit of Jim Boylen (Utah), Garland finds himself in a familiar place back at the Breslin Center where it all began.

"This is where my college career started and it's just fantastic to be back," Garland said.

"We had been friends for 30 years," Izzo said, "and plus he had been here when we started building this thing again."

"You know you never really realize how much you appreciate it until you leave," Garland added.

But what did he miss most?

"The camaraderie, the kids... you know it's home here.," Garland said.

"I think having Mike back," Izzo explained, "it's definitely a comfort level for me, but I think it's going to be a great experience for the players."

Marquise Gray was recruited by Garland and agrees the 53-year-old should make an immediate impact: "Coach brought him back for a reason, maybe that was just the last piece of the puzzle that we needed," Gray said

And he could be onto something, after all, Garland shared in 3 of those trips to the Final Four and that 200 National Title.


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