Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Friday night that he has no plans to retire. He said so rather matter-of-factly following his team's 76-61 home win over Wisconsin,
"I'm not going anywhere, in my mind," he said. "I'm definitely not retiring. There's a lot of things that happened today that are part of life. I'm going to worry about my team, I'm going to worry about the survivors, and I'm going to worry about what I'm going to do."
Speculation arose earlier on Friday, after Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis retired, that Izzo could do the same later this season. An ESPN report published a couple of hours after Hollis' surprise announcement detailed a disturbing pattern of sexual and physical assault by former Michigan State student-athletes, including three former Spartan basketball players. The story included on-the-record accounts from victims and their families with details about how Michigan State and/or local authorities seemingly failed to respond accordingly to serious allegations.
Prior to MSU's game vs. Wisconsin, Spartans football coach Mark Dantonio claimed the allegations against him in ESPN's story were false. When Izzo was asked about the story and informed of Dantonio's response, Izzo said he was withholding judgment of the piece until he read it in full.
"You know, guys, you're going to be disappointed, but I gave you my two statements and there is nothing I'm going to say right now after a game at a press conference except that I support the survivors, to the nth degree, and I hope that I'm a big part of the healing process for them and our campus community," Izzo said.
The Izzone, Michigan State's student section, was clad in teal-colored shirts on Friday night in support of sexual assault awareness. Hours before the game, outside the Breslin Center, students and members of the community gathered to protest and show support for the victims of sexual and physical assault at Michigan State over the past two decades.
After offering up his respect to the MSU student section, Izzo initially began his postgame press conference with an opening statement that briefly addressed the news of the day, then tried to direct questions pertaining to the game before ultimately spending the better portion of 14 minutes vaguely discussing the university-wide controversy at hand. He repeatedly expressed his support for the victims/survivors who attended Michigan State.
"Our top priority in this healing process is for our courageous survivors," Izzo said. "As far as the reports today, we will corporate with any investigation going forward as we had always done. And that's about all I have to say about that."
Izzo was perhaps reticent to get too detailed on Friday night due to the firestorm he created last weekend when he said of convicted former Michigan State and United States gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar: "I hope the right person was convicted."
He also said, "I have to say, though, that I have the utmost -- the utmost -- faith and respect for the leadership of our president, too, at Michigan State. That's a woman who has dedicated over 40 years -- and I've been here 33 with her, and I think I know what she stands for."
Izzo walked back his comments the next day, while MSU president Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation Wednesday. Izzo will potentially be asked about this again in just two days as the Spartans play at Maryland on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans have been coached by Izzo since 1995, making him one of the longest-tenured coaches in all of Division I.