Longtime Michigan State basketball assistant coach Mike Garland announced that he will be retiring from coaching on Thursday. Tom Izzo gave his thoughts on what he meant to the team.

Garland and Izzo have been together since 2007, when Garland joined Izzo’s staff. The pair went to 14 NCAA Tournaments since Garland started at Michigan State as an assistant coach.

Here’s what Izzo had to say about their relationship per Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press:

“Words can’t truly express what Mike Garland mean to me,” Izzo said in a statement. “We’ve been friends since we met the first night in college and basically have lived the rest of our professional lives together. To say he’s just my friend doesn’t even scratch the surface of our relationship. He’s my brother for life.”

While Izzo is upset that he will no longer be able to coach alongside someone he had such a close relationship with, he understands that life is more important that college basketball. At the same time, he believes that no deserves this retirement more than Garland.

“At the same time, we all know that life moves on and this is a great time for Mike to step into a deserved retirement after a tremendous career as a leader in college basketball,” said Izzo. “The impact he has had on not only this program, but also on nearly every young man he’s met while coaching in this sport is incredible. To say that Mike Garland was just a basketball coach would be a disservice.”