Michigan State announced its plans to honor Jud Heathcote throughout the 2017-18 season on Wednesday. The Spartans will wear a patch on their uniforms to honor their former coach, who died last month at 90. They will also host a Jud Heathcote Tribute Game on Feb. 10 against Purdue.
Tom Izzo has one more tribute up his sleeve — and a scapegoat if it goes wrong.
Izzo said Michigan State will run a zone defense on the first possession of the 2017-18 season, something that was a staple of Heathcote’s tenure in East Lansing. If the Spartans give up a basket on when they’re in zone, Izzo joked that he will be “cursing Heathcote up there.”
Izzo was speaking at the Great Lakes Christian College breakfast on Thursday morning, according to Jesse O’Brien
at the GLCC breakfast, izzo says he's playing zone the first play of the season to honor jud. "and if they score, i'm cursing him up there."
— Jesse O'Brien (@jesseobrien) September 7, 2017
Izzo served under Heathcote as an assistant at Michigan State from 1983-95 before taking over the head coaching job when Heathcote retired.
“No one cared more about the welfare of the game than Jud,” Izzo said after Heathcote’s death. “He was a coach’s coach and mentor to many. … Without a doubt, he was one of the most influential people in my life, giving me a chance when no one else would. Any coaching success I’ve ever had is because of him.”