Friday’s win over Ohio State not only advanced Michigan State to the semi-finals of the Big Ten Tournament, it also was victory number 600 for Tom Izzo. The Hall of Famer reflected on the accomplishment in a very Izzo way after the game.
“It means two things, that you’re getting old, and that you 600 shy of Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim so it keeps you humble and makes you realize you haven’t accomplished that much yet,” joked Izzo.
While Izzo may not yet be in the range of those two coaches, he is in the upper echelon when you look at the Big Ten. With the win, Izzo became only the second coach to win 600 games at a Big Ten school.
Bobby Knight is the all-time leader with 661 wins at Indiana. Izzo is now just 61 wins away from catching Knight, three more years of 20+ wins will move him into the top spot.
Izzo also ranks second in terms of all-time Big Ten conference wins with 288. Bobby Knight is also the leader in that category, with 353 wins. That number might be a little tougher to catch, but if MSU keeps winning Big Ten games at the pace they have been the last few years he will catch up in about five years.
When talking about all the success he has had, Izzo is quick to give credit to those around him.
“Better players make you a better coach,” said Izzo bluntly.
And Izzo has had plenty of good players throughout his time at MSU. His current star, Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston had this to say about being a part of the historic win.
“It’s an honor, he does a lot of great things, especially behind the scenes, so to get accolades like that for your career, a lot of people don’t do that,” said Winston of his head coach.
When asked about what advice he would have for younger coaches, Izzo preached patience.
“Don’t let the pressure get to you, just stick with the process, stick with what you believe in and hopefully get hired by the right people,” said Izzo.
I think that both Michigan State and Tom Izzo would agree that he ended up in the right place with the right people. And it has worked out pretty well for both parties