Izzo joins list of college coaches in 1 place for 20+ years
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Tom Izzo has joined an exclusive club of current coaches who have lasted 20 seasons at one school.
''I wouldn't go as far as saying we're dinosaurs, but I do think it will be a lot harder for coaches to stay in one place for 20-plus years,'' Izzo told The Associated Press before beginning his 21st season with the Spartans on Friday night against Florida Atlantic. ''With social media and win-now expectations, it's harder to stay. I think more coaches are moving around now, too. When you've been one place a long time, though, you realize the grass isn't always greener on the other side.''
The NBA has called in the past, but Izzo turned many millions offered by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks.
By deciding to stay, Izzo also has given his two children stability, an elusive intangible for the kids of many coaches. Izzo's daughter is a junior at Michigan State and his son is a freshman in high school.
''That has been a plus without a doubt,'' he said. ''When you're a part of a community and your kids don't have to bounce from city to city, there's something to be said for that. I'm engrained here. It's where I go to church and pump my gas. I've been fortunate to be here this long with a school president who cares and an athletic director who is off the charts.''
Izzo led Michigan State to the 2000 national title and is coming off his seventh Final Four appearance.
The 60-year-old, hard-driving coach had knee surgery earlier in the week, due to years of wear and tear as a runner, but kept his crutches at home and hobbled along the sideline Friday night.
How long does he want to keep coaching?
''As long as I have the energy to take a redeye flight back from a recruiting trip, I'll keep doing this,'' he said. ''I don't see the day in sight that I won't want to do that.''
Here's a look at the rest of the nine-coach club, who have coached the same team for at least two decades, according to STATS:
BOEHEIM: The Hall of Fame coach won a national title in 2003, and helped the Orange reach the Final Four for the fourth time in 2013. But Boeheim enters his 40th season under a cloud. He will serve a nine-game suspension during the ACC season because of NCAA violations. He plans to retire in 2018.
KRZYZEWSKI: Coach K is coming off his fifth national title in his first 35 seasons at the school. The Hall of Fame coach led the Blue Devils to the Final Four for the 12th time last season, tying John Wooden's record.
OAKLAND'S GREG KAMPE: In 31 seasons at the university in suburban Detroit, he has led the Golden Grizzlies to 500-plus wins, three NCAA tournaments and six of 14 Summit League championships.
BELMONT'S RICK BYRD: He helped the school in Tennessee make the move from NAIA basketball to the top tier of college basketball and is entering his 30th season at the school. Byrd has pushed the program into the NCAA Tournament in seven of the last 10 seasons.
DAVIDSON'S BOB MCKILLOP: Stephen Curry's college coach has been at the same North Carolina-based school for 26 seasons. McKillop and Curry helped Davidson reach an NCAA regional final in 2008, losing to Kansas by two points.
AUSTIN PEAY'S DAVE LOOS: Over the previous 25 seasons, he has helped put the Clarksville, Tennessee, school on the map when people filled out NCAA Tournament brackets. He helped the Governors play in the tournament three times.
SAINT JOSEPH'S PHIL MARTELLI: The four-time Atlantic 10 coach of the year won a school-record 375 games over 20 seasons, entering this year. He led Saint Joseph's to six NCAA tournaments and the NIT 11 times, carving a niche for the program in the basketball-filled city of Philadelphia.
LAFAYETTE'S FRAN O'HANLON: The three-time Patriot League coach of the year has led the Easton, Pennsylvania-based college to three NCAA Tournaments over the previous 20 seasons.
AP college basketball website: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org/
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