Tom Izzo Uses NCAA National Stage to Promote Mark Dantonio & Spartan Football

Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio share a moment before a Big Ten Basketball game in 2016.  Photo courtesy of Sofiya Stumpos.
Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio share a moment before a Big Ten Basketball game in 2016. Photo courtesy of Sofiya Stumpos.

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Sporting a 29-5 record and a #2 seed with the love of the national pundits predicting a national title on the horizon, MSU head coach Tom Izzo stepped on the dais today to address the media throng here in St. Louis, Missouri.

With Izzo almost certainly about to be picked for the Hall of Fame in just over two weeks, Izzo had the largest crowd of media for all eight coaches here. That is normal. He is loved nationally almost as much as in the Spartan Nation and is always a great quote.

That is why the moment he could bring up football and his good friend Mark Dantonio, the Spartans head football coach, he jumped at the opportunity. Praising his good friend, Izzo beamed ear to ear with pride for Spartan football.

“It's been interesting when Mark was an assistant with Nick Saban, we got to be friends then. And I think Mark took some things from Ohio State and from Nick and I've stolen from every coach that has been good. I just look at good coaches. If I don't know them, I call them, and I try to steal from them. And I love football. I know I'm coming back in my second life, probably going to be in Div. VII, but I'm going to coach football somewhere.”

Izzo wasn’t done, “So Mark and I have been friends. I think I was involved a little bit in his hiring. I got to be on the committee. I just have tremendous respect for him. He does it the right way. He, too -- you know, I was the defensive coordinator at Ohio State when they won it. He was Nick's defensive guy. Nick's a defensive guy. Everybody wants the offensive guy.”

He equated the Spartans trip to College Football’s Final Four this year to what he wants from this set of Spartans that he coaches now, “And I think they've done what we did this year: They were so good defensively the first couple of years and then they blended it with good offense. And I think that's what we've done this year. So Mark and I talk often. He called me before I left. I told him we're trying to get where he did. Maybe we drive each other. But it's in a very positive manner. It's one where I can call him and talk to him about a problem or how did you handle this. He called me about the hype of the Final Four and what that was like. I'm not sure we always do a great job for each other, but at least we're there for each other. It's pretty cool.”

If you are a Spartan you should think about that. With media from around the world (literally) Tom Izzo took the first open opportunity to praise his fellow Spartan head coach and promote what President L.A.K. Simon calls, “Team MSU.” That was impressive and with the amount of media talking about it in the room, it got traction.

The Spartans tip off with Middle Tennessee tomorrow at 2:45 PM ET and the game can be seen on ESPN.