Tom Izzo Doesn’t Need to Look Far To Replace Mark Montgomery

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Jimmy Boylen is a Spartan with the proven intensity and ability to make an immediate impact on Tom Izzo’s staff should Coach Izzo ask him to return.

Jimmy Boylen is a Spartan with the proven intensity and ability to make an immediate impact on Tom Izzo’s staff should Coach Izzo ask him to return.

Now that Mark Montgomery has accepted the job at North Illinois as the head basketball coach, speculation is swirling around East Lansing as to who will replace him. The vacant assistant coaching job at MSU is a good gig. Tom Izzo has a reputation for developing good young head coaching talent.

Many will line up looking for an opportunity to help manage the plethora of talent that MSU has amassed. The committed talent coming into the MSU program over the next couple years is impressive.

Nobody stands out quite like Jimmy Boylen. Coach Boylen left MSU for Utah to become their head coach three years ago and was relieved of his duties there recently.

Boylen is truly a coaching talent. He has NBA experience. He has head coaching experience. He is known specifically for his ability to develop big men and surely will get a strong look for the MSU opening.

We caught up with Jim and he had this to say about the prospect of coaching in the collegiate ranks again as speculation ran rampant that he wanted back in the NBA. “I like the family part of college basketball, the relationships, seeing your guys grow, change and develop. It is amazing what a guy goes through from his freshman year to his senior year.”

Jimmy spoke with us about the things he likes about the college game. The young men he coaches are always at the forefront of his discussions. He may just be exactly what the doctor ordered for an MSU team that had multiple distractions throughout the last year and half. “I love developing young men and I have taken a lot of pride in that. That’s the rewarding part and it is difficult. Each job has its rewarding parts.”

The Boylen family still owns a home in East Lansing. They are in the process of moving back to the area to weigh the family’s next opportunity be it in East Lansing or elsewhere. There are always numerous factors that go into hiring assistant coaches. The great thing about Jimmy Boylen is that he is a known commodity who has MSU ties and is exactly what the current MSU staff needs.

He is personable; player focused, has big man coaching experience and already knows a good portion of the players in the program. He was an instrumental part of the recruiting process for some of them.

Jimmy Boylen back in the Breslin Center is a no-brainer. Izzo could go a number of different ways with his next hire, but I believe this should be the easiest decision of his coaching career. MSU has some needs they must address with this hire and Boylen fits them all.

If MSU is going to get back to their brand of basketball, some key big guys are going to have to blossom.  Jimmy could really help elevate Nix, Sherm, Payne, Gauna, Green and Roe. He could make that group of power players the best in the nation if given the opportunity. Matt Costello and Kenny Kaminski don green uniforms in 2012. These guys have the potential to be special.

We will be keeping close tabs on the developments around the Breslin Center. As we know more about this most important vacancy, we will keep you abreast. Regardless of Coach Izzo’s decision, Jimmy Boylen will always be one of us. He will always be a Spartan.