After MSU announced Izzo was staying, they held a press conference to make the announcement official. Izzo spoke at great length about his decision making process, including why he eventually deciding to stay at MSU (he also took Q & A with the media, including putting Detroit News writer Lynn Henning in his place).
Although the Cavs presented the riches, MSU Alum Owner, and potential for Izzo to coach one of the best players in the world, none of that beat his situation at MSU. He explained that he felt it was a greater opportunity to go out and recruit the next wave of LeBron’s than it was to simply coach him with the Cavs. Ultimately, his decision was based around family and continuing to build an elite program.
Izzo spoke eloquently about the support he received from his Spartan basketball family. He had former players, and coaches calling to offer their opinions and support. As he reflected on these calls and conversations, it help confirm what he had built at MSU. Izzo has been much more than simply the head coach of the basketball team, he has helped build a Spartan basketball family that has made the program stronger. Yes, the selling point that any player who stays four years has made it to a Final Four helps, but the culture he has created keeps players coming back. Izzo also spent time talking about what being a Spartan for life meant to him. He plans on spending his remaining time at MSU chasing the Coach K’s, Boeheim’s, and Calhoun’s of the world, and adding more National Championship banners to the rafters in the process. These were things the Cavs could not offer.
He also took the time to acknowledge his growing relationship with AD Mark Hollis and MSU’s football head coach Mark Dantonio. He displayed confidence that the three of them have the best intentions of doing everything they can to turn MSU into a powerhouse program. Izzo loves coaching, teaching, and building families, but he also loves winning. He feels together this trio has what it takes to take MSU to the next level, an opportunity he had no real interest in walking away from.
Among the other reasons for staying was the Izzo family as well. Last time Izzo was contemplating leaving for the NBA it was with the Atlanta Hawks. He took the family to check out the facilities and as they were in the Hawks arena his daughter began signing the MSU fight song, not long after the Izzo’s were out the door at back on a plane to East Lansing. Once again his daughter Raquel played a role in Izzo’s decision explaining to her dad her commitment to the community and family they had created and her desire to continue to be apart of that. When asking his daughter about what she thought she said ”Gosh Dad I don’t want to leave, what about all of our ‘boys’?” Izzo reminded her about what a great people person she was, but you could tell what she said next really hit home with Izzo “I know Dad, but if you went there they’d be my friend because of who you are, and here they’re my friend because of the people we built.”
At the end of the day Izzo showed no signs of regret and stressed how focused he was to move on and get back to work. Maybe the process took too long and maybe Izzo didn’t say all the things Spartan fans wanted to here over the last nine days or at the press conference. However, hearing he is a “Spartan for life” and is only focused on building the program to win as many championships as possible sure made all that time and agony disappear pretty quickly.