Wednesday, February 13, 2013


The following comes from a Sports Illustrated article by Michael Rosenburg.  I got a kick out of the five stages because I think as coaches we can all relate.  It's a lengthy and well-written on Coach Tom Izzo and you can read it in it's entirety here.

"I'm a little confused where we are, but I've been confused all year," Izzo said, after his team improved to 21-4. "I was a little amazed we were 20-4, if I'm honest about it."

Izzo is confused every year. This is part of his charm, and a big part of his greatness. Every season, he goes through the Five Stages of Izzo. He doesn't mean to do it. He can't help himself.

The Five Stages are ....

1. Optimism -- Izzo is optimistic in October and early November. The Spartans are either favorites (meaning they have players who have won big) or underdogs (and Izzo, a short guy from a small town, loves being an underdog), but either way, Izzo says, "I'll tell you what, I like my team." I always feel it is appropriate to nod, even though I know what is coming next.

2. Concern -- This comes after an early-season loss or two, Izzo blames himself for overscheduling, bemoans a lack of practice time and worries about injuries, but says he still likes his team, and the Spartans will be OK, as soon as they get past the brutal schedule, the lack of practice time, and the injuries.

3. Confusion -- This often comes after a great win and a bad loss, back-to-back. Izzo wonders: Why isn't his team consistent? Why doesn't winning doesn't mean enough to some of his players? He is confused, he'll tell you. But he still thinks tomorrow will be OK, except hang on folks, because we're heading into ...

4. The World Is A Terrible Place And Why Are We Even Alive? -- At some point in January or February, Izzo will rant about any and all of the following: toughness; injuries; the Big Ten schedule; the media favoring Michigan; the media favoring the ACC; the media favoring how today's players are coddled; cell phones, text messages, camera phones and any other technology invented since 1987; how recruiting never really got easier for him, despite his success; some random lousy player from an opposing team who somehow played great against Michigan State; leadership; and the depressing reality that Mateen Cleaves ran out of eligibility in 2000. Izzo loves Cleaves, not just because Cleaves was a great player who won the national title, but because together, Cleaves and Izzo willed Michigan State to prominence. Izzo's son's middle name is Mateen.

5. Success -- This comes in March. Nobody in college basketball has gotten his teams to play their best in March like Izzo. A few others have won more, but only a few, and they all had more talent.