The Izzo Tree

This weekend I questioned what branches had grown from Duke’s Coach K’s coaching tree – Quin Snyder’s failed attempt at Missouri (and really, where is he today?), Tommy Amaker’s failed attempt at Michigan (although he has taken Harvard to the tourney for the first time since the Truman Administration), and a few others, but not a lot of success.

While not starting at such national programs as those from the Duke sidelines, Tom Izzo’s coaching tree has started to generate some strong branches. It has to be why Dane Fife, a head coach at IPFW, a small but Division I program, would leave behind the Head Coach title to go become an assistant for Izzo.

Jud Heathcote begat Tom Izzo and Izzo has begat:

– Tom Crean – Head Coach at Indiana, reviving the progam. Also known for guiding Dwyane Wade at Marquette, Crean is making Indiana basketball matter again.
– Stan Heath – Head Coach at University of South Florida. Previously headed up Kent State and University of Arkansas.
– Stan Joplin – Former Head Coach at University of Toledo. Fired one year after being named MAC coach of the year, Joplin’s bio on wikipedia lists him as the coach at Springfield High School.
– Brian Gregory – Head Coach at University of Dayton.
– Jim Boylen – Former Head Coach at University of Utah and currently an Assistant for the Indiana Pacers. Boylen is an interesting case who has spent two terms as an MSU assistant with multiple NBA stops along the way.
– Doug Wojcik – Head Coach at University of Tulsa.
– Mark Montgomery – Head Coach at Northern Illinois University. The most recent of Izzo’s assistants to leave, Montgomery started his first season at the helm in 2011.

Current assistant coaches Dwayne Stephens, Dane Fife and Mike Garland (who previously was a head coach at Cleveland State and has returned) should not have to wait long to get an opportunity to take over a program.

If there is a disappointment here it is that Crean and Heath are the only two to have big successes but the pure volume and sustained and steady improvements by all of the individuals demonstrates a job well done by Izzo in preparing his assistants for the next climb up the coaching ladder in their respective careers.

Random thoughts of the day:

– Is there a better button on an appliance than “Popcorn” on the microwave?

– Would “” get a national TV commerical slot if it existed (I haven’t looked to see if it does) like “” (tagline – where black people meet) did tonight on NBATV before the Knicks/Mavs game? Would it turn into a national issue?

– Super Tuesday was a Super Let Down