Tom Izzo is widely regarded as one of the top college basketball coaches in the nation.
And despite the fact that the only national championship he won came 13 seasons ago, Athlon Sports ranked Izzo as the nation’s best coach in its listing of the top 50. Izzo was ranked as the nation’s top coach by Athlon for the second straight season.
Izzo, who is entering his 19th season leading Michigan State, is 439-178 as a coach and has guided the Spartans to six Finals Fours. He owns a 39-16 record in the NCAA Tournament.
Athlon wrote the following about why Izzo is their top coach:
“Simply put, he excels in all areas as a college basketball coach: NCAA Tournament success, regular season consistency, recruiting and player development. Consider that no senior who has started with Izzo has finished his four years without reaching the Final Four. And Izzo has had this success without the benefit of churning out NBA Draft picks as freshmen and sophomores every year as many of his counterparts do. Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with recruiting one-and-dones and sending them to the Draft, but Izzo has a formula that has worked for nearly two decades despite all the changes in the sport.”
Louisville’s Rick Pitino, who guided the Cardinals to the national championship with a victory over Michigan in April, is ranked as the second-best coach, while Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski came in third on the list. Kentucky’s John Calipari, Kansas’ Bill Self, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Ohio State’s Thad Matta and Michigan’s John Beilein rounded out the top 10.
Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan (11), Indiana’s Tom Crean (17), Purdue’s Matt Painter (28), Iowa’s Fran McCaffery (37) are the other Big Ten coaches featured on Athlon’s rankings of the top 50 coaches.
*** Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders is a former MSU women’s golfer. She had the opportunity to throw out the first pitch at Monday night’s Tampa Bay Rays game and did it with a golf club.