Tom Izzo confronts idea of potential retirement in 2024
Tom Izzo is hoping to avoid Michigan State missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997. That was Izzo’s second season leading the program, but it will take a stark turnaround in B1G play to get the Spartans into March Madness.
As Michigan State — a preseason top-5 team — continues to struggle, questions about when Izzo might retire have come up. His increasingly negative comments about this current era of college athletics with the transfer portal and NIL in play only fuel speculation.
However, the longtime head coach squashed the idea of any retirement coming in 2024. During an interview with CBS Sports, Matt Norland says Izzo adamantly denied he will retire at the end of this season.
“Yesterday,” Izzo said. “Yesterday is what it’s all about.”
That was on Monday in reference to Steven Izzo’s first career basket as a Spartan. It was certainly an emotional moment for both Izzo’s with Steven finally getting into the scoring ledger in his fifth season with the program.
As for his potential retirement, Izzo described himself as “too stubborn” to think about doing so in the very near future:
“I’m too stubborn to even think about doing it in the near future because I almost want to fight the system,” Izzo said. “And the system might get me. The system may get me. But the system may not get me, either.”
Mich St. is flirting w/ missing the NCAAT for the first time since ’97. Amid a tough season and ever-changing landscape, Tom Izzo tells @CBSSports there will be no surprise 2024 retirement. When he leaves, expect a Jay Wright/Nick Saban-like exit.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) January 16, 2024
As for how he might eventually retire, Izzo predicted he is unlikely to go the route of a farewell tour. Instead, Izzo expects he will simply call it a day when the time comes, much like Jay Wright at Villanova and Nick Saban more recently at Alabama.
“I’ve never thought of what exactly I’ll do. I know what I won’t do,” Izzo said. “Jud had a farewell tour. Mike did. I have a lot of respect for those guys. I’m sure I’ll be more in the Jay Wright and Nick (Saban) way of doing it. When it’s over, it’s over and I’m walking away. But I’ve got a good recruiting class, I’ve got an opportunity to coach my former player’s son, which I’m really looking forward to — (Jase) Richardson — I’m in a good place in every part for me, except the frustration of the day-to-day, never knowing where you are, you know? That’s hard.”
In the meantime, Izzo faces the challenge of getting things turned around this season. If he does find a way to get the Spartans into March madness, it could go down as one of his best performances to date.