Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on May 14, 2000 · 31
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · 31

Detroit, Michigan
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 14, 2000
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Ctfflcj puts legacy, loyalty ahead of lucrative offer EAST LANSING This was about a lot of things. It was about family and atmosphere and goals. But in the'end, it was about one thing, the same thing that has driven Tom Izzo since his days as a shoe cobbler's helper in Iron Mountaia It was about building something a record, a program, a legacy. For Michigan State's basketball program to become a dynasty, this was the toughest step, keeping Izzo from bolting. Forget the words. With his actions, by turning down an NBA contract that could have topped $20 million over five years, Izzo said it all. He said he believed a dynasty at MSU is possible, and it's worth more than all the commas and zeroes in Atlanta. "I want the status here where recruits are dying to come," Izzo said Saturday. "I know what Duke has done, what Kentucky has done, what Indiana did. I think it's doable here. I'd like to have a legacy, to do things that not many others have done." You'll want to pause on this concept because you won't hear it often in today's sports. Here was a man suddenly thrust into a situation that could financially sate him for life, yet it also tested his principles. Short-term? No contest. You grab the loot, build a 7,000-square-foot mansion in Atlanta and begin learning why the NBA is where good coaches go to disappear. It's not much of a risk because no one expects you to turn around the sorry Hawks, and if you tire of it, college programs would court you. That's why Izzo took time to thoroughly investigate it. And ultimately, after talking to his players and realizing how unselfish and committed they were, that's why he turned it down. You don't really build anything in the NBA You're hired to facilitate, to massage egos, to win quickly, at any cost. That's not Izzo. He preaches sacrifice and discipline. It's how he got star Morris Peterson to spend his junior season coming off the bench. It's how he kept three stars through their senior years. Izzo will make maybe one-third the money he could have in Atlanta. But he can accomplish three times the goals at MSU. He admitted ego partly motivated him to consider the Hawks, to be the only coach to win NCAA and NBA titles. Maybe that same mind-set helped keep him here. Despite his appealing aw-shucks attitude, Izzo is driven like few coaches we've seen. Watch him on the bench, yelling and prodding. Watch him cut down nets, tears filling his eyes. Watch him beam at the thought of top recruits Marcus Taylor and Zach Randolph stepping in and making MSU a top-10 team again next seasoa "That's probably the biggest thing, that I really believe we have a chance to win more champioaships here, and I'd like to take a shot at it," Izzo said. "I told my players to leave footprints in the sand. Well, they can do it in four years. A coach has to do it over 20 years." So he took the next step, the less-lucrative one, the smarter one. He made a sacrifice, although not a painful one because he's paid welL It's what Mike Krzyzewski did a few years ago, spurning the Celtics. If he had bolted, Duke would have faltered. If Izzo had bolted, it's fair to say MSU would have struggled to gain elite status. With an admirable personal decision, Izzo raised his own stature immeasurably. That's the nice story. Just as important, he raised MSU's stature. To the Spartans' foes, that's the scary story. leave a message for Bob Wojnowski at (313) 223-4648 or at wojofan.a) OPEN V; i'r- nPR '( ):i'T'C:j A fvlft , 'J III ,,-"'' ,MH-SUNDAY " " " ? : fiilllflit i; 1111 1' t1 Hie Detroit News Sunday, May 14, 2000 n 7SM Dale G. Young The Detroit News Tom Izzo says a meeting with his players Friday night had a bearing on his decision to remain with MSU. The Tigers' Gregg Jefferies Showing interest? Tigers could pursue Rickey Henderson, who was released by Mets on Saturday. Page 5D Colorado wfas mi opseeir Detroit News wire services The Colorado Avalanche took the opening game of the Western Conference finals Saturday night, denying the Stars, 2-0, at Dallas. Avalanche defenseman Ray Bourque missed the game because of a lingering left knee injury. (Story, Page 10D). In the NBA, the host Philadelphia 76ers held off the Indiana Pacers, 92-90, to avoid elimination in their second-round NBA playoff series. The Pacers' Reggie Miller was ejected after a scuffle with Matt Geiger. (Story, Page 7D). (n I scores' on Jose Macias' second What fans want Joe Falls: People would flock to games if Tigers could put together a winner. Page 5D 2-0 N3A playoffs results 1 Philadelphia 92, Indiana 90 Indiana leads series 3-1 Today's games Miami at New York, 12:30 p.m. Portland at Utah, 3 p.m. Lakers at Phoenix, 5:30 p.m. All games on NBC (Channel 4) fHL playoffs Saturday's result Colorado 2, Dallas 0 Colorado leads series 1-0 Today's game New Jersey at Philadelphia, 3 p.m., ABC (Channel 7) News In brief Knight update Coach apologizes for his temper and says he knows he needs to be more diplomatic. rage 2D I Tha Decision: Tom Izzo Stays at SVSSU r" Coach says he wasn't excited enough to accept Hawks' offer. By Dave Dye The Detroit News EAST LANSING - Tom Izzo is an emotional man. But it was a lack of emotion that prompted him to make a bold decision Saturday, choosing to stay at Michigan State instead of accepting an offer from the NBA's Atlanta Hawks that could have totaled about $20 million for five years. I - inning triple as Jorge Posada 'I 7- ' v 'i'i. "i r-r ' uf- -' ..w r ww. rr'' r- i 0" ' f ! John M. GallowayThe Detroit News Anne Rex ford coached the Detroit Mercy women's basketball team while being treated for colon cancer. Golf Tie in Texas Davis Love and John Huston share the lead in the Byron Nel son Classic. Page 9D Izzo knows how he feels when he's excited about something, how he wants to pump his fist. But when it came time to make a final decision to take the Hawks' money and bolt MSU, something didn't feel right. "I thought back to the day I got this job at Michigan State," Izzo said. "I was like a kid in a candy store. I was so excited. I bopped around for a whole day. It was probably the most exciting day of my life. "Even though this (going to the NBA) would have been James Borchuek The Detroit News waits vainly for the throw. Fewer complaints Big crowd at Comerica Park doesn't bring problems at concession stands, bathrooms. Page 5D dettZTl .can The Detroit Newt Online All d.iy every day httpAletnews com Emsrt move Terry Foster says Tom Izzo's demonstrative style is not suited for the NBA. Page 6D Sorry, no ttesl How the Hawks tried to lure Tom Izzo away from Michigan State. Page6D exciting, I felt like I wasn't excited enough to make a decision like that. There just wasn't the same excitement." Please see IZZO, Page 7D 2 m a rows rmo 1 E a leers n Y7 H Three hits, two RBI for Macias; Weaver gets run support vs. champs, picks up first victory. By Tom Gage The Detroit News DETROIT The best of the worst often beats the worst of the best meaning that role reversal is possible when ever the Tigers play well and the Yankees don't. It happened last year, if you'll recall. "We beat them three in a row," Brad Ausmus said after Saturday's 6-3 victory, "then went right back in the tank." It's from that tank the Tigers again have climbed to beat the Yankees in the first two games of their three-game series. For one thing, the Tigers find that playing the Yankees is easy. "They're World Champs," Gregg Jefferies said. "If your adrenaline doesn't pump against them, you've got to be dead inside." For another, the Tigers would have won Saturday's game without help from the elements, because right-hander Jeff Weaver (r-4) was sharp in his first victory of the year. But they did get some additional help. TCP esford enjoys b igges Detroit Mercy coach healthy after fight with colon cancer. By Angelique S. Chengclis The Detroit News After she made sense of the doctor's dreadful words, after she came to grips with fact she had cancer, and after she cried like she had never cried before, Anne Rexford bravely gathered herself. Like any good coach, she immediately established goals. She wanted to see her four young children graduate high school. She wanted to make it through her first season in her dream job, coaching the Detroit Mercv women's basketball team. D Motoi sports ?D Outdoors 2D led 10D FortheRucordllD parsed Torn L'zo turned down a five-year, $15-mi!lion contract to coach the NBA's Atlanta Hawks. With incentives, the deal could have been worth about $20 million. v;:.r.t!.y;ir-i A seven-year contract to coach Michigan State for at least $1.1 million per season. ft "It was like Candlestick (Park) out there today," Jefferies said. The gusting wind played tricks with fly balls and pop-ups. Just ask Ausmus. The glare off the grass even made it difficult to see some grounders which could explain why Yankees shortstop Clay Bellinger broke to his left on a ball to his right in the seventh. Weaver was good. I Ie has been good in a lot of his starts, but the difference this time was that the Tigers gave him something more than a one-run lead to work with. Weaver hadn't had more than a 1-0 lead in his previous five starts. "There's no reason he can't be one of the best pitchers in the league," the Yankees' Paul O'Neill said. Ausmus made the play of the game on a pop-up that behaved more like a bottle rocket in the ninth. Watch for it during your local highlights. Taking care of the production end, Jose Macias had three hits, everything but a home run, and two RBI. The Tigers had 13 hits to go with their 16 Friday night, but that might be the adrenaline Jefferies was talking about. no matter what the effects of her treatments and medications. She wanted to hear her idol, Detroit Shock Coach Nancy I.ieberman-Cline, speak at the team's banquet. But more than anything, she just wanted to live. "I was by myself when the doctors came in, and you're sitting there thinking, 'Are they talking to me?' " Rexford said. For Rexford, 38, who is close to full strength and was recently declared cancer-free, this Mother's Day Ls a reward, a gift for the six months of chemotherapy she endured. The weekly, debilitating hour-long intravenous treatments were on Monday's, then, exhausted. Please see Rl-XWRD, Page 8D t victory

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