Tom Izzo said he needs to win national title this year to 'validate' career at Michigan State


Michigan State coach Tom Izzo is undoubtedly one of the best coaches in the country.

Izzo — who has led the Spartans since 1995 — has won nine Big Ten regular season titles, six Big Ten tournament titles, reached the Final Four eight times and has one national championship under his belt.

Yet if he can win a national championship this weekend in Minneapolis, which would make him just the 16th coach in history to win multiple titles, it would “validate” his 24-year career in East Lansing.

"I need to validate it for me, I don't need to validate it for them," Izzo said Tuesday, via "I have my own goals and dreams and I have my own aspirations of what I want to do. What I want to do is put Michigan State University in rare air."

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo holds up the net after defeating Duke in an NCAA men's East Regional final college basketball game in Washington, Sunday, March 31, 2019. Michigan State won 68-67. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Tom Izzo is already one of the best coaches in college basketball. But winning a second national title this weekend would "validate" his career, he said. (AP/Alex Brandon)

Izzo’s only national championship came in 2000. Since then, he has reached the Final Four five other times — four of which he lost in the semifinals.

While it’s hard to hate on a coach who has made the NCAA tournament in 22 of his 24 seasons with the program, Izzo knows that those people will always be out there.

"I've learned that people that question you are going to question you, the haters are going to hate you," Izzo said, via "All I've got to make sure I do is what's best for my team and the university I work at. I want to do that each and every day."

Michigan State — fresh off a win against Duke in the Elite Eight, a program he’s beaten just twice in his career — looks to be in a prime position to leave Minneapolis with a national championship on Monday.

If that is the case and he does earn his second title, Izzo said he still won’t be satisfied — something that would have shocked him years ago. Instead, he said, he’ll just have to go find harsher critics to push him further.

“Then, I’ll need to find some other friend that says 'You know, two is good but (Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has) won five, so you haven’t done much yet,’” Izzo said, via “I’ll thank that person too.”

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