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East Lansing legend Tom Izzo to enter Basketball Hall of Fame

Tom Izzo talking to a referee
MGoBlog on Flickr
Michigan State University basketball head coach Tom Izzo talking to a referee during a game.

It's been over two decades since Tom Izzo  became the head coach of Michigan State's men's basketball team. In that time Izzo coached the team to one national championship, seven Final Four appearances, seven Big Ten regular season titles, and five Big Ten Tournament titles.

Tonight he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame alongside former NBA superstars Shaquille O'Neal, Yao Ming, and former Detroit Piston Allen Iverson. 

Izzo, who was born and raised in Iron Mountain in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, helped make the Spartans a nationally recognized basketball program, even in years when the Big Ten conference was overlooked by many spectators.

But he's done much more than just win. He's developed stars.

As a college coach, he developed players like former NBA player Mateen Cleaves and current NBA players Draymond Green and Gary Harris among others.

His ability to both cultivate talent and win tough games is why he's also been named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times during his time at MSU. 

Even in seasons when the team has failed to make it to the Final Four, Izzo has remained one of the premier coaches in college hoops.

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish reports, in the Candid Coaches series, that Tom Izzo was voted by 100 of his Division I coaching peers to be the coach they would want their sons to play for in college. 

You want a coach who is widely, if not universally, respected throughout the sport, away from the court, by both his peers and media members? That's Tom Izzo. You want a coach who wins, wins, wins no matter what to the point that he'll soon be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame? That's also Tom Izzo. He's a well-liked man and great basketball coach.

You can watch that segment here:

Izzo's teams aren't often seen as offensive powerhouses, but they have been built on defense and playing tough in the paint.

With years of college coaching ahead of him, Izzo will step into rarely reached territory, becoming a Hall of Fame inductee as an active coach. 

Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press reports Izzo still wants to do more in his career, namely, winning another national championship. 

He expects a second NCAA title. Getting a spot in the Hall of Fame only makes him want it more. He’s 61. He doesn’t know how many years he has left, which is why he used the word “accelerated” to describe his chase. Whereas Shaq and Iverson and Yao get to spend the weekend contemplating and appreciating their legacies, Izzo is still defining his.

The banners speak loudly of his coaching ability, but his name will now be attached to the phrase "Hall of Famer" for the rest of time.

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