The 2010-11 Spartans finished with a 19-15 mark and advanced to a 14th straight NCAA Tournament. MSU faced a difficult regular-season schedule that included 18 of 33 games against the RPI Top 50 and 23 of 33 against the RPI Top 100.
Michigan State turned in another great season in 2009-10, capturing a share of a second-straight Big Ten Championship and advancing to a sixth Final Four in 12 seasons. With MSU's 106-68 victory over UMass in the sixth game of the season, Izzo recorded his 341st victory, becoming Michigan State's all-time winningest coach. The Spartans opened Big Ten play with a school-best 9-0 start and captured a share of the regular-season crown with a 14-4 mark. Overall, MSU would finish with a 28-9 record.
The Spartans opened the 2010 NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed and advanced through the first weekend with narrow victories over New Mexico State (70-67) and Maryland (85-83). In the Midwest Regional, the Spartans once again proved they could win the close games, defeating Northern Iowa (59-52) and Tennessee (70-69) to advance to the program's eighth Final Four and the sixth in the last 12 seasons under Izzo.
Michigan State led the nation in rebounding margin for the fourth time in Izzo's career, out-rebounding opponents by a +8.6 margin.
The 2008-09 season was one of the best in the history of Spartan basketball. Michigan State advanced to its fifth Final Four in 11 seasons, becoming just the fifth school in the history of college basketball to accomplish that feat. During the regular season, the Spartans won the Big Ten Championship with a 15-3 league record, including a school-best 8-1 mark on the road. MSU won the league title by four games, equaling the second-greatest margin in conference history. Overall, Michigan State finished the season with a 31-7 record, the third-highest win total in school history. For his efforts, Izzo was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
In the NCAA Tournament, Michigan State advanced through the first weekend with wins over Robert Morris and USC. In the Sweet 16, the Spartans took out defending National Champion Kansas. In the Elite Eight, MSU beat No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked Louisville, marking just the third victory over the top-ranked team in The Associated Press Top 25 in school history. At the Final Four in Detroit's Ford Field, the Spartans beat No. 1 seed Connecticut before eventually falling to North Carolina in the title game.
Michigan State led the nation in rebounding margin for the third time in Izzo's career, out-rebounding opponents by a +9.3 margin. It marked the eighth time that an Izzo-coached team ranked in the top 10 in the nation. The Spartans also proved to possess a high-powered attack, leading the Big Ten in scoring offense (72.0 ppg).
Izzo directed Michigan State to a 27-9 record in 2007-08, recording the ninth 20-win season in the last 11 years. The season finished with a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, marking MSU's seventh trip to the regionals in the last 11 years, tying for second most in the nation. The 27 wins marked the fifth-largest total in school history at the time, while the 24 regular-season victories were the then third-largest regular-season total for MSU. The Spartans were a perfect 17-0 at home, good for the first perfect home season since 2001 and just the fourth in Breslin Center history.
The '07-08 Spartans led the Big Ten in rebounding margin (+6.8). In league games, MSU paced the conference in field-goal percentage (.474) for the fifth-straight season, becoming the first school in league history to accomplish that feat. Michigan State finished with a 23-12 mark in 2006-07. The Spartans had to overcome a large amount of adversity and a very difficult Big Ten schedule, but they did advance to a 10th-straight NCAA Tournament. The Spartans also did something for the first time in school history - recording Michigan State's first home win over a No. 1-ranked team, with a 64-55 over Wisconsin.
The 2006-07 Michigan State squad excelled by getting back to Spartan basics - rebounding and defense. On the glass, the Spartans led the Big Ten in rebounding margin (+7.0). Defensively, MSU allowed opponents just 57.2 points per game, the lowest total since the 1951-52 squad allowed 56.0 points. Opponents also shot just 38.4 percent from the field, the lowest percentage since 1958-59 (.379). Nationally, the Spartans ranked sixth in scoring defense and field-goal percentage defense and eighth in rebounding margin.
In 2005-06, Michigan State finished with a 22-12 mark. The Spartans played one of the nation's toughest schedules, playing more games against teams ranked in the RPI top 25 (13) and top 50 (18) than any other school in the nation.
In Big Ten games, Michigan State led the conference in five statistical categories including free-throw percentage (.781), field-goal percentage (.469), rebounding defense (30.1), rebounding margin (+4.2) and assists (15.81 apg).
Michigan State returned to the Final Four in 2005, becoming the only team to appear in four Final Fours between 1999 and 2005. The Spartans finished the season with a 26-7 mark, including a 22-5 regular-season record. Since Michigan State joined the Big Ten, only three Spartan teams finished the regular season with fewer losses.
In the NCAA Tournament, MSU defeated No. 1 Duke and No. 2 Kentucky in the Austin Regional, becoming the first team in tournament history to defeat the Blue Devils and the Wildcats in the same year. Despite losing to North Carolina in the Final Four, Izzo was named the 2005 Clair Bee Award winner, recognizing the Division I men's basketball coach who has made the most significant positive contribution to his sport.
Not only did the 2004-05 Spartans win, they were also statistically impressive, ranking in the top 15 nationally in six statistical categories, including free-throw percentage (3rd, .777), scoring margin (7th, +13.1), assists per game (10th, 17.1 apg), field-goal percentage (11th, .487), rebound margin (11th, +6.8) and scoring offense (13th, 78.5 ppg). MSU led the Big Ten in scoring for the second straight year with 78.5 points per game - its highest scoring average since 1985-86 (83.1 ppg).
During the season, Izzo recorded his 232nd win at MSU, moving past Benjamin Van Alstyne for the second most number of career wins in Spartan coaching history. In summer of 2005, Izzo traveled to Kuwait to take part in "Operation Hardwood - Hoops With The Troops." Izzo was one of eight coaches and sports personalities coaching 13-member military basketball teams on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, from Aug. 27-31. Camp Arifjan defeated the other bases to win the championship under the direction of Coach Izzo. Izzo made a return trip to Kuwait in May 2006.
In 2003-04, MSU opened the season with a 5-7 mark after taking on one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in NCAA history. Rather than give up, Izzo and the Spartans rallied to win 12 of the next 15 games, finishing just one game out of first place in the Big Ten at 12-4. For the year, MSU posted an 18-12 mark.
The 2003-04 season saw Michigan State become the first team in Big Ten history to lead the conference in scoring offense (71.3 ppg), field-goal percentage (.522), 3-point field-goal percentage (.434) and free-throw percentage (.777) in the same season.
On Feb. 4, 2004, MSU defeated Iowa, 89-72, as Izzo recorded the 200th victory of his Spartan career, becoming just the third coach in MSU history to accomplish that feat. He also became the eighth head coach in NCAA history to record 200 wins in his first nine seasons. Ten days later, Izzo became just the third coach in Big Ten history to record 100 league wins in his first nine seasons, joining Bob Knight and Gene Keady as MSU defeated Minnesota, 69-58, on Feb. 14.
The 2002-03 season was a study in perseverance. Izzo rallied his team to win the final four regular-season games and eight of the last 10 conference games to finish 10-6 in the Big Ten, good for third place in the league. Michigan State made even bigger noise during the NCAA Tournament. The No. 7 seed Spartans easily dismissed Colorado in the first round, setting up a matchup with the No. 2 seed Florida Gators. The Spartans shocked many experts with a 68-46 victory in the Gators' home state. In the Sweet 16, Michigan State defeated defending-national champion Maryland in a thrilling two-point game, before eventually falling to the No. 1 seed Texas Longhorns in the Lone Star State.
The Elite Eight appearance was the fourth for MSU between 1999 and 2003. During that time period, no other school made more than two trips. In fact, since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, just four programs (Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State and North Carolina) have advanced to four Elite Eights in any five-year period.
The 2001-02 season may prove to be one of Izzo's finest. Despite losing 81 percent of the scoring load from 2000-01, and having three of his key players miss several games with injuries, Izzo led the Spartans to a 10-6 Big Ten record, finishing just one game out of first place. MSU won 10 of the last 13 regular-season games to finish with a 19-12 record and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2000-01, Izzo earned NABC National Coach of the Year and District 11 Coach of the Year honors for leading Michigan State to its third straight Final Four and fourth straight regular-season Big Ten Championship. MSU became just the fourth school in Big Ten history to win four straight league titles.
MSU opened the season by winning its first 12 games to establish the best start in school history. On Dec. 25, 2000, the Spartans earned the top spot in The Associated Press Top 25, marking the first time they held the No. 1 position in the AP Poll since 1979. In Big Ten action, Michigan State posted a 13-3 record to win a share of the league crown. The Big Ten finale vs. Michigan marked Izzo's 100th Big Ten game. Through his first 100 games, Izzo posted a 72-28 mark, the fifth-best record in Big Ten history.
In the 2001 NCAA Tournament, Izzo guided the Spartans to a third straight Final Four. For a third consecutive season, Michigan State earned a No. 1 seed. MSU won the first three games by double figures, establishing a record with nine straight NCAA Tournament victories by double digits. When MSU defeated Temple, 69-62, in the South Regional Final, the Spartans became just the ninth school to reach three-straight Final Fours and just the third since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. On the season, MSU finished with a 28-5 record.
Michigan State led the nation in rebound margin for the second straight season at +15.4 boards per game, tying the fifth-largest margin in Division I history and the greatest since 1980. The Spartans also ranked 13th in the nation in scoring defense (61.8 ppg).
In 1999-2000, Michigan State captured the second NCAA Championship in school history and its third straight regular-season Big Ten Championship. MSU also won at least 30 games for the second straight season, posting a 32-7 mark, becoming just the second Big Ten school to accomplish that feat. The 65 wins over the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons is the greatest two-year total in the history of the Big Ten. The Spartans also repeated as Big Ten Tournament champions.
Izzo led MSU to consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history. For his efforts, Izzo was named USBWA District V Coach of the Year and NABC District 11 Coach of the Year. Izzo also recorded his 100th career victory in a Jan. 11, 2000, 77-71 overtime win over Indiana in the Breslin Center.
For the second consecutive season, Michigan State earned a No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament. After disposing of Valparaiso and Utah in Cleveland, Ohio, the Spartans moved on to the Sweet 16 at the Palace of Auburn Hills, Mich., where they recorded come-from-behind victories versus Syracuse and Iowa State. In the Final Four, MSU defeated Wisconsin for the fourth time that season. The Spartans then captured their second NCAA title in school history, defeating Florida, 89-76.
During the 1998-99 season, Izzo directed the Spartans on a magical run to the program's first appearance in the NCAA Final Four since 1979. Under Izzo's guidance, Michigan State posted a record of 33-5, establishing a school record for most wins in a season. For his efforts, Izzo was named the Basketball Times National Coach of the Year and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 11 Coach of the Year. Throughout the 1998-99 Big Ten season, Michigan State established itself as the class program of the conference. Izzo directed the school to its second straight Big Ten title. The Spartans followed up a 15-1 Big Ten regular season by capturing their first Big Ten Tournament championship. The 15 league wins tied a school record for most victories in conference play, while the Spartans' 93.8 winning percentage established a school record.
Whereas MSU's success in 1998-99 was expected, the Spartans took the college basketball world by storm in 1997-98. Izzo became the first Michigan State coach to earn Associated Press National Coach of the Year honors while leading MSU to a 22-8 record and a share of the Big Ten title. The Spartans posted a 13-3 mark in conference, earning Izzo Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.
Over the course of the 1997-98 season, Izzo and his team finished the year ranked No. 10 nationally by USA Today/ESPN, marking the first time the Spartans had finished in the Top 10 since 1995. In addition to his AP award, Izzo was named National Coach of the Year by Basketball News and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). Basketball Times selected Izzo as its Mideast Coach of the Year.
During Izzo's first season as head coach in 1995-96, he directed the Green and White to an overall slate of 16-16, including a 9-9 effort in the Big Ten. Izzo recorded wins over Top 25 teams on four occasions. In 1996-97, Izzo guided the Green and White cagers to an overall mark of 17-12, including a Big Ten ledger of 9-9. Izzo led the Spartans to the second round of the NIT in each of his first two seasons.
In his 31st season as a member of the MSU coaching staff, Izzo has been with the Spartan program since taking a part-time assistant coaching position in 1983. An assistant coach with the Spartans from 1983-86, Izzo left MSU in May of 1986 to become the top assistant and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa. But, on June 10 of the same year, Izzo returned to East Lansing when Spartan assistant Mike Deane left to become head coach at Siena College.
Since then, he has been the catalyst in the resurgence of the MSU program. Regarded as one of the country's top recruiters, he is known as a tireless worker both on the recruiting trail and in the office. His hard work and loyalty were rewarded in July 1990, when Jud Heathcote appointed him associate head coach. His dutiful efforts were further recognized when, on March 30, 1993, then-MSU Athletics Director Merrily Dean Baker recommended both a one-year contract extension for Heathcote through the 1994-95 season and that Izzo be appointed head coach upon Jud's retirement. The MSU Board of Trustees accepted both recommendations on April 9, 1994.
Izzo originally came to MSU from Northern Michigan, where he had been an assistant from 1979-83. He was named a part-time assistant at MSU in September 1983. When former assistant Edgar Wilson left in November 1983, Izzo became a full-time assistant. vIzzo played guard for NMU's basketball team from 1973-77, and was voted the team's MVP as a senior. He was also a third-team Division II All-America pick that year and established the Wildcat record for most minutes played in a season. Following his graduation from NMU in 1977, Izzo took over as head coach at Ishpeming High School and served in that position for the 1977-78 campaign.
A native of Iron Mountain, Mich., Izzo and former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci were Iron Mountain High School teammates in football, basketball, baseball and track. As college roommates at Northern Michigan, Izzo walked on to the basketball team, while Mariucci did the same with football. Both would go on to earn Division II All-America honors. Despite their busy schedules, they remain the closest of friends. For 10 years, they co-hosted a golf tournament in Iron Mountain to raise money for the community, including a fitness center for the high school.
In October 1990, Izzo was inducted into the Northern Michigan University Hall of Fame and was selected as an inductee into the Upper Peninsula Hall of Fame during the summer of 1998. He was inducted into the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 2001, Izzo received honorary degrees from both Northern Michigan and Michigan State, delivering the commencement address at both graduation ceremonies.
Izzo is also an active volunteer in the community. Among his many efforts, he is very active with Coaches Vs. Cancer, Volunteers of America, Sparrow Hospital and the Jimmy "V" Foundation. In 2009, Izzo was presented the Coaches Vs. Cancer Champion Award, recognizing his work and leadership in the fight to save lives from cancer.
Izzo was born January 30, 1955. His family includes his wife, Lupe, daughter, Raquel, and son, Steven.