Tom Izzo: ‘Tough times don’t last, tough people do’

NCAA Hoops

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State University will hang another Big Ten Championship banner to the rafters at the Breslin Center.

The Spartans were really starting to roll when the season was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Basketball coach Tom Izzo says the COVID-19 pandemic has been interesting and there has been nothing like it.

“Well, it’s been crazy … My mother turns 94 next week, and we were kind of reminiscing about going through polio and the depression and World War II, and then of course the wars now, and of course 9/11,” Izzo said.

Though he’s often in the public eye, Izzo says he’s been listening to health officials’ recommendations, especially after the team’s associate coach, Dwayne Stephens, lost his father to the virus.

“I’ve been here 45 days now, and I think I went to the store three times.” Izzo said. “I’ve been going outside and working out a little bit. I go outside for a bike ride … I do respect what our medical people are saying. I’m confused like everybody else is, but it’s one of those chances that I’m not willing to take right now, especially since it can be life or death as we witnessed with Dwayne’s dad.”

Like most people, Izzo says he’s been using his time at home to do things he hasn’t done in years while trying to keep his sanity and be productive.

“I’m doing a lot of cleaning,” Izzo said. “Both my kids moved back in, and that’s been good because we’ve gotten a chance to do some things with the family … I watch a lot of film. I’ve watched TV shows that I think I can use like the Jordan documentary. (I’m thinking) Where can I use that so I can help my team, if and when we get back together.”

He’s hoping everyone can come together to get through this tough time.

“I would just say, for one time, and I mean this — I don’t care if we are black or white. I don’t care if we are rich or if we are poor. I don’t care if we are a Michigan fan or a Michigan State fan or if we are a Grand Valley fan or a Northern Michigan fan,” Izzo said. “I just don’t care if we are Democrat or Republican. I hope we all can get on the same page and do what’s best for all of us. And the people that have lost jobs and things like that, I just want to say, hang in there. Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”

The full interview with Izzo can be watched in the video player above.