Tom Izzo lauds different breed of Spartan fans at Jenison Field House

The only shame in Saturday night’s game at Jenison Field House is that its postgame press conference happened so late. With a post-9 p.m. start to the Michigan State-Tuskegee men’s basketball game, there isn’t a daily newspaper in the state that could get a story with postgame reaction in its Sunday editions (which, even in the digital age, is the one day print still rules, much to the lasting dismay and bewilderment of web folks).

Normally, the thoughts of the parties involved in a 92-56 matchup between a ranked Division I program and a 1-4 Division II program wouldn’t be worth the newsprint or mouse click.

But Saturday was different. Most of that had to do with the circumstances surrounding this game, that it was meant, in part, to commemorate the 1963 NCAA tournament regional played played at Jenison.

The most interesting comments came from MSU coach Tom Izzo, who praised the more blue-collar crowd at Jenison vs. the high-donor group that exists at Breslin.

“It was a different group of fans, so many it looked like families,” Izzo said. “That was kind of neat. That’s the one thing we miss sometimes with the corporate way that you have to do things now. There were fans that stayed until the end, because they just wanted to see their Spartans. And I appreciated that.”

The best crowd moment, undoubtedly, was the standing ovation given to each of the Tuskegee Airmen introduced Saturday night.

“It was kind of hair-raising on your arms,” Izzo said. “I really appreciated our fans doing that.”

Izzo blamed the circumstances as much as anything for his team’s first-half struggles.

“As I told my team, this week was five days of finals, two days of having every great player who ever played here back at practice and spending time with a concert before the game.

“I told my staff, I’ve never been through anything like this.

“I was worried about how we’d perform and my worries came through in the first half.”

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11 Responses to Tom Izzo lauds different breed of Spartan fans at Jenison Field House

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Well Graham my parents were two of those familys who went to every game, my father was a probation officer , my mother a stay at home mom till my little brother was six when she taught school. When they were on one income they were able to aford season tickets in football or a hockey or basketball game every weekend whoever was in town. My father and I went to every football game from 65 to 2006. Today people in that income bracket are priced out and a lot of those corporate types are non alums from Detroit who get tickets from a law firm. So that is what happened. I am a legacy and spend 2 grand a year on attending a bowl game or fly to EL or see them here in Minny. But I was born in 1959 and when my active days end in a decade or so my familys generation dies out, and to paraphrase RP

    ” Biggie Munn aint walking through that door folks”

    • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

      Yes I am. As long as I can walk. Old Spartans never die, they continue to buy season tickets like Democratic voters in Chicago.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      There’s no question many families have been priced out of major college sports. It’s a sad reality of our times and what amateur athletics has become. Unfortunately, at the Big Ten level, for the most part, that’s not going to change. But I do think having reasonably priced family games and family four-packs that continue to include fans on a budget could only help MSU. The more young fans you have, the better. And, who knows, some of those children of parents who can’t afford a seat license might grow up with a enough cash to make it rain with donations.

  2. avatar dmbtierney says:

    A lot of the Breslin crowd was at the game; just about everyone I know at Breslin was there last night. However, none of us are considered “swells”. I think there are two reasons why none of the latter group showed (and they had first crack at the tickets BTW). First, many of them could not see plopping their tushies on those old, hard Jesison bench seats. Second, since it is the Holiday Season, many of them also had already made party commitments to Muffy and Karl at the club.

  3. avatar Rob says:

    If MSU cared about the fans as much as they want the fans to care about them, they wouldn’t be starting night games later than 7:00. They have fans coming in from both sides of the state and as a western michigan resident, it is quite late by the time you get home. They even have 9:00 games scheduled on weeknights.

  4. avatar Stategrad '71 says:

    Mr. Couch, I disagree. There was great shame that this game (like so many others) was even scheduled. Tuskegee Institute? They got hammered by Monticello State. Were all the junior high teams already scheduled? They actually charge admission for these shams. Shame on you, Michigan State, for violating every tenet of good sportsmanship by charging for a game that is a complete joke!!

    • avatar dmbtierney says:

      Hey, you got it all wrong! I paid $30 to see the Commodores. The BB game was a freebie throw-in.

    • avatar Graham Couch says:

      The original idea involved having Loyola there. When that didn’t happen, Mark Hollis was left to look for another opponent that honored Jenison’s history. I might have brought in someone else, Indiana State perhaps, and still honored the building. The best idea, in my opinion, would have been a four-team event with Loyola, Miss. State, Bowling Green (also in the 1963 regional) and MSU. I didn’t have a problem with Tuskegee. But agreed, it was a gross mismatch. But so are many of these early season games.

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      quit crying ’71, EVERY college team charges for crappy games, at least MSU was honoring Tuskegee for a reason, you’re missing the whole point.

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