Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo has been selected to receive the Dean Smith Award, an award given to the individual in college basketball who best embodies the spirit and values of late North Carolina coach Dean Smith.
The honor is designed to honor recipients for more than just their success in basketball. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association announced the Izzo as the winner Thursday.
Izzo is the second winner of the award, which was given for the first time last season. Former Georgetown head coach John Thompson was the inaugural recipient of the award.
“We wanted to honor Coach Smith for the life he led and the lives he touched,” said past USBWA president John Feinstein. “Coach Smith would be very proud to have Tom’s name on the award in his honor.”
Izzo has been head coach at Michigan State since 1995 and has a career winning percentage of .719 (524-205). Under his leadership, the Spartans have appeared in the NCAA Tournament every year since the 1997-98 season. In those years, he has led Michigan State to six Final Four runs and one NCAA Championship in 2000.
“Tom Izzo represents everything the Dean Smith Award stands for,” USBWA president Ed Graney said. “Coach Izzo’s distinguished career and commitment to excellence represent the standards for which this award is defined, qualities Coach Smith held as paramount in making an impact on the lives of players on and off the court.”
The coach was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in September and is involved in numerous charitable organizations including Coaches vs. Cancer, The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and Volunteers of America.