It’s been “a wicked couple of days,” Tom Izzo said tonight on the Monday passing of his father, but he will coach the No. 1 Spartans tonight at Iowa (9 p.m., Big Ten Network), and he is focusing on all the positives of Carl Izzo’s life.
Carl Izzo died at age 90 in Appleton, Wis. Izzo spoke about it to Will Tieman and Matt Steigenga on the pre-game show on the Spartan Sports Network.
“My father was 90 years old and I got to spend and do some incredible things with him,” Izzo said. “But as my wife told me and as I’ve learned from a lot of people, it really doesn’t matter if you live to be 110 or if you live to be 25 — it still hurts the same way.”
Izzo said he thought about “all the neat things I got to do” with his father as he and the team flew to Iowa on Monday.
“The goods way outweighed the bads,” Izzo said. “And that’s the way I’m trying to approach this. It’s been a wicked couple of days, because it all happened so quick and the travel, and it seems like a lot of things came at one time. But the blessing is, so many Michigan State people, so many of you guys that have helped me and my family. And I think the texts and the calls I’ve gotten make it so you appreciate that your dad had an impact not only on your life, but other people appreciated him.”
Izzo recalled all the Final Four appearances in which Carl would “hold court” in the lobby of the team hotel. Carl was ill and was not able to make his son’s seventh Final Four last season in Indianapolis.
“I think of the great things he got to do because of my job,” Izzo said. “And that’s what I told our president, Lou Anna Simon, who called that first day. And I said, ‘Man, if it wasn’t for Michigan State, he wouldn’t have lived as good a life.’ So it’s been a little sad and a little happy, but we all have to deal with it, and I realize there’s a lot of people worse off than I’ve been. I’m trying to look at it as the glass half full – which, I’m not very good at that, as you guys know. But I’ve made some progress and I appreciate the thoughts.”
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Carl Izzo’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, D.C. 20090-6011. Condolences may be expressed to the family at http://www.ernashfuneralhomes.com