ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – Tom Izzo,
who recently was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball
Hall of Fame, is adding another award to a growing list of honors
as the Michigan State coach.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association announced
today it has selected Izzo to receive this year's Dean Smith
Award, given annually to an individual in college basketball
who embodies the spirit and values of the late North Carolina coaching
The USBWA will present Izzo with the Dean Smith Award at a Spartans'
home game to be announced at a later date.
Izzo is the second person to receive the Dean Smith Award. The
USBWA established the award last year and selected former Georgetown
coach John Thompson as the first recipient.
The award recognizes coaches for more than just their success
in basketball. "We wanted to honor Coach Smith for the life he led
and the lives he touched," said past USBWA president John Feinstein,
who had the idea to establish the award. "Coach Smith would be very
proud to have Tom's name on the award in his honor."
Among the qualities in a coach that the award is based on are
honesty and integrity, being a part of players' lives during and
after college, abiding by NCAA rules, involvement in charities and
the community, standing up for social issues and causes and having
a reputation for treating people with respect.
"Tom Izzo represents everything the Dean Smith Award stands for,"
USBWA president Ed Graney said. "Coach Izzo's distinguished career
and commitment to excellence represent the standards for which this
award is defined, qualities Coach Smith held as paramount in making
an impact on the lives of players on and off the court."
Izzo has a history of community involvement and humanitarian
In 2013, he received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award, named
in honor of the late Oklahoma All-American, for having made a significant
and positive impact on society and for serving as an active volunteer
in the community.
Izzo has been involved in raising funds for Coaches vs. Cancer,
Volunteers of America and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
In 2009, Izzo was presented with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion
Award for his work and leadership in the fight against cancer.
In 2009, the USBWA presented Izzo with the association's Good
Guy Award for accessibility and his relationship with the media.
Izzo is also known for helping his players be successful students
and maintaining a relationship with them after college. He has achieved
a graduation rate of over 80 percent for players who have completed
"He calls or texts me all the time to see how things are going,"
Golden State Warrior All-Star Draymond Green said. "He cares about
us as people and helping us grow as human beings. I don't think
you get that kind of relationship with most coaches at other schools."
Under Izzo, Michigan State has become one of the most successful
basketball programs in the country. Izzo led the Spartans to the
2000 NCAA championship, the 2009 national championship game, seven
Final Fours, seven Big Ten regular-season titles, five Big Ten tournament
championships and 19 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Now
in his 22nd season at Michigan State, Izzo is the longest-tenured
coach in the Big Ten Conference.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in
1956 at the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers.
With some 900 members worldwide, it is one of the most influential
organizations in college basketball. It has selected an All-America
team since the 1956-57 season. For more information on the USBWA
and the Dean Smith Award, contact executive director Joe Mitch at