On my way back from covering a college hoops awards show at the Final Four two years ago, I hopped on a shuttle bus that was going to take me back to the media hotel.
In retrospect, I don’t think I got on the right shuttle, because just a few seats up from me was Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. I was in awe a bit because Izzo is one of the best college basketball coaches around, and his accomplishments in the game have been impressive.
It was cool being on the same bus as Izzo and it’s great that he will be honored this April as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award. The award is given to someone who has made a positive impact on society and it is named after the former Oklahoma star, who passed away from cancer in 2009.
Izzo runs a clean program and is someone young coaches and players should feel honored to look up to. He does things the right way, and his team wins games. The graduation rate of his teams is at 80 percent, and it’s easy to appreciate the way his teams play because they take a blue-collar attitude to the gym each day.
Izzo also does a lot of good for others outside of basketball. He has worked with Coaches vs. Cancer, Volunteers of America, Sparrow Hospital and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
David Gilliken, the 2012 Chairman of the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award Advisory Board, had this to say in a press release about Izzo.
“His record of achieving the highest levels of success on the court together with his focus and success in graduating his players and positively impacting the community make him the ideal selection and adds another very significant name to the growing list of Tisdale Humanitarian honorees,” Gilliken said.”
No doubt about it – Izzo was a good choice for the award this year.
Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.