ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo
has been selected to receive the Good Guy Award from the
U.S. Basketball Writers Association for his work with members
of the news media to promote college basketball.
Izzo will be recognized at the USBWA's annual college basketball
awards breakfast on Friday, April 3, at the Detroit Athletic Club
during this year's NCAA Final Four in Detroit.
At the breakfast, the USBWA will also present the Oscar Robertson
Trophy to the national player of the year and the Henry Iba Award
to the coach of the year.
In addition, the Basketball Writers will honor Michigan State's
1979 national championship team on the 30th anniversary of the Spartans'
"Tom Izzo is simply more than a Good Guy," said Louisville Courier-Journal
sports columnist and USBWA Past President Rick Bozich, who will
present Izzo with the Good Guy Award.
"He's a guy who's good for the game of college basketball."
Izzo's understanding of the media's needs, according to Bozich,
was never more evident than it was when Michigan State and Kentucky
met in 2003 in the first college basketball game ever played at
Detroit's Ford Field.
The inaugural game was called "The BasketBowl" and it attracted
the largest crowd ever for a college basketball game, 78,129.
The court was placed in the middle of the field and initially,
much of the press seating was located a great distance away from
the playing court. Izzo insisted that all media be moved down to
"He felt the folks covering the game needed to be close to the
action," said Bozich.
For the last two seasons, Izzo has invited the media to a Michigan
State practice for a 2-1/2 hour session. They're issued jerseys;
they watch films, run drills and finish with a post-game meal.
"He understands that the media is a direct link between basketball
programs and basketball fans. He knows that it is important that
writers have legitimate access to coaches and players. He takes
time to explain things. He doesn't sense a conspiracy behind every
Now in his 14th season at Michigan State, Izzo has garnered considerable
media attention, due not only to his relationship with the press
but also to the success the Spartans have had on the court. His
resume includes one national championship, four Final Fours and
12 straight NCAA tournament appearances.
This year, Michigan State won its fifth Big Ten title under Izzo,
tying the school record for conference victories (15) and capturing
the league championship by four games.
All this while overcoming a series of injuries and illnesses
to key players that forced Michigan State to play 14 different starting
lineups this season.
At the end of the season, Izzo was named Big Ten coach of the
year for the second time in his career.
Previous Good Guy Award winners include now retired coaches Gene
Keady of Purdue and Tom Brennan of Vermont.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at
the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today,
it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball.
For more information on the USBWA and its awards, contact executive
director Joe Mitch at 314-421-0339.