On the court during a Michigan State – Indiana basketball game, Tom Izzo and Tom Crean are bitter rivals. Once that game is over and until the next one begins, they are close friends. Crean, who was once an assistant for Izzo at MSU before embarking on his own head coaching career, talked about a recent way that Izzo helped him and his mother out greatly during his weekly radio show.
Crean’s mother was unable to travel from Michigan to Indiana to see the games but she able to make it to the MSU-IU game in East Lansing after Izzo arranged for his wife to host and care for Crean’s mother in her suite. The Izzos also gave Crean’s mother his personal parking pass so she didn’t have to walk far at all.
The two coaches go way back, even before Michigan State. They first met while Crean was coaching at Alma College on a recruiting trip. The two were assistants together briefly at Michigan State and Izzo was a groomsman at Crean’s wedding. Izzo hired Crean as an assistant at MSU from 1995-1999 before he moved on to coach Marquette.
When the topic of Izzo enterting the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame this year came up during his broadcast, Crean said, “If he’s not unanimous, they need to take someone’s credentials.” He’s right, but, that’s a good friend.