Blog Entry

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:13 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 11:27 am
 
By Gary Parrish

ATLANTA -- I ended my shadowing of Michigan State's Tom Izzo late Friday, then took a flight south so I could attend an event in Atlanta today and tomorrow before heading to South Carolina for the Nike Peach Jam. Far as experiences go, the past three days could not have been better. Izzo was the perfect host, and though the time spent in gyms was worthwhile, the best parts of the trip came during conversations at breakfast, lunch or dinner, in cars, vans or planes.

When you spend 15 hours a day with somebody you tend to talk about everything.

More on Recruiting
So we talked about everything.

And what I found most interesting is that while the job of a high-major coach has plenty of perks -- like weekly paychecks that eclipse most people's annual earnings -- it does require men (not just Izzo, all men) to sacrifice something personally. I guess I've known this for a while, and I can relate it to my own life, too. But it was magnified during this trip while I listened to Izzo take calls from all sorts of people, including his teenage son.

Obviously, I couldn't hear what was said on the other end of the phone. But when I heard Izzo one time say "in just a few days," I knew what was just asked. The question: When are you coming home?

"It's hard," Izzo later told me. "You always feel guilty."

And that's the struggle. Success in this sport requires tremendous focus and a work ethic that borders on stupid. Most coaches have wives and children who barely see them. The kids are in class till 3:30 or so in the afternoon during the school year, and the coaches don't get home till after 7 on good days. Then comes summer and the kids are out of school, but the coaches are on the road most of July, and it's not a stretch to suggest that a hard-working coach will see a 17-year-old recruit he'll never sign more than he sees or talks to his own son or daughter. That's just sort of the life these guys sign up for.

Again, they make lots of money.

You'd probably trade jobs with any of them.

But it's clearly not the simplest way to get really wealthy.

(For more of our college basketball recruiting road trip, click here.)
Comments

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 2:28 am
 

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

You distinctive an extraordinarily engaging website covering a lot of issues I'm intrigued too.I just extra your world-wide-web page to my favorites so I can examine via more even when with the subsequent days



Since: Oct 14, 2007
Posted on: July 12, 2011 11:25 am
 

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

Parrish looks like he's been trolling middle school parking lots to come up with the "onion" hairdoo.    Looks good on you Gary!



Since: May 11, 2009
Posted on: July 11, 2011 10:26 pm
 

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

Sweet faux hawk Gary. You forgot your muscle shirt and sunglasses though.



Since: Jul 9, 2011
Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:32 pm
 

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

 As the son of a division 1  coach, its nice for a writer to talk about the hardships that the coaches and their families face daily. Good read. There's a lot of glamour, but a lot of missed Thanksgivings and July 4ths too.



Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: July 9, 2011 7:02 pm
 

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

I have appreciated the whole series, Gary. Your selection of Tom Izzo could not have been better. Tom is a coach that has done most of it  and is able to relate to the recruiting scene as well as anyone. Besides, there are the private plane rides!

The sacrifice you speak to is troubling. We know from the other part of this series that many other coaches have as much or more sacrifices while not earning anything close to the money or the fame. Perhaps Izzo and Self and Coach K are enough to drive them forward in hopes of achieving that level. But the families will not understand. The children will grow up with a famous, (for a few) or just burned out, father that they would gladly exchange the achievements for an hour a day together. There can be no recovery. It is time lost that never again is gained.

So my hope is that fans reading your story will consider their own situation and perhaps their own choices in balancing career with family. Take time now for these vulnerable and important children. I had a famous and successful father. On his death bed he said "I look back over my life and it was all nothing except for you three kids and you turned out ok in spite of me." 

I also hope that, as fans, we can cut some slack for out school's current coach and concentrate on encouragement rather than negativity. If we want the best for our school, an energized coach who can draw on the support of the alumni and fans is the best chance for a championship.



Since: Jun 13, 2011
Posted on: July 9, 2011 6:15 pm
 

2011 recruiting trip: Done with Izzo, in ATL

IF I WERE A COLLEGE COACH I WOULD TAKE MY TEENAGE SON OR DAUGHTER ON THIS KIND OF TRIP IF THEY HAD INTEREST IN THE SPORT AND WANTED TO GO WITH ME. THEY WOULD GET TO SEE HOW DIFFICULT THIS TIME OF YEAR IS AND WOULD GET TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH ME. I KNOW THIS WOULDNT BE EASY IT WOULD MAKE THE TRIP MORE ENJOYABLE. CAN YOU IMAGINE SITIING IN THOSE GYMS FOR 15 HOURS WATCHING THE RECRUITS AND AT THE SAME TIME COMPARING NOTES WITH YOUR TEENAGER AND I MEAN RESPECT THEIT INPUT NOT JUST LIP SERVICE.


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