A television station in Eugene, Ore. cited anonymous sources that said Oregon would make an offer to the Michigan State coach which would make him the richest coach in the sport. The Ducks, of course, are flush with cash thanks to Nike co-founder Phil Knight and are looking to make a marquee coaching hire after parting ways with longtime coach Ernie Kent.
On Monday, in a statement that was a surprise to absolutely no one, Izzo said that he's happy at Michigan State.
This whole thing bothers me for two reasons. First, coaching rumors that spring up while a coach is preparing for the Final Four are uncouth. Most famously, North Carolina made not-so-subtle overtures toward Roy Williams before the '03 Final Four, leading to Roy's infamous "I could give a s--- about North Carolina right now" comment on live television. For this to come out now as Izzo prepares for Saturday's game against Butler feels icky. Oregon didn't necessarily want this to leak, but it did.
But discussing a coach who's preparing for the Final Four is only an affront to decency. The actual plan to lure Izzo is an insult to common sense. He isn't going anywhere. Michigan State has had two coaches since 1976: Izzo and his mentor, Jud Heathcoate. He's on his way to becoming an all-time coaching legend and being as synonymous with Spartans basketball as Mike Krzyzewski is with Duke. Would he really risk besmirching his legacy to earn his $3 million contract just to earn a few more dollars in Eugene? No shot.
The only question is, why did Oregon aim so low? As long as the school is harboring delusional fantasies of luring coaching royalty, why not try for Mike Krzyzewski or Roy Williams? I'm sure Phil Knight could get Dean Smith's number from Michael Jordan. And John Wooden turns 100 the day before Midnight Madness. What better birthday gift than a four-year contract?
- Tom Izzo
- Oregon Ducks
- Phil Knight
- Roy Williams