DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Izzo Legacy being shaped by whole family

Digital Exclusives

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Tom Izzo could never coach another basketball game at Michigan State and his on-court legacy would be assured. He’s been to eight final fours, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and he has a national championship.

However, for the Izzo family, they want their name to represent so much more than just basketball.

“Our legacy, Tom and I’s legacy, is beyond basketball, it’s our community it’s our love for family, and community and we’ve always said,” Lupe Izzo, Tom Izzo’s wife said. “When there comes a time where Tom hangs up his tennies one day, not in the near future but one day, we want to be known as loving our community and supporting our community and rallying our community together to help each other and have it be a really strong community.”

With the help of their daughter Rocky Izzo McDonald, Lupe started the Izzo Legacy Family Foundation in 2019 and launched it with a 5k run and walk. 

But this year’s event was canceled not once, but twice due to COVID-19 and the Izzo’s said they knew too much was on the line to stand around and do nothing.

“All of the organizations couldn’t put on their fundraisers,” Lupe said. “And you know none of them could gather, none of them could come together and do what they do, whether that be a breakfast, a golf outing, a ball, a run, we couldn’t do it, and these charities really need the support.”

As 2020 was coming to a close, Rocky came up with the idea for the 4th Quarter Challenge for the last quarter of the year. 

The foundation released challenges based on their three pillars of community involvement, charitable giving and personal wellness.

With help from the Playmakers Fitness Foundations, the Izzo’s have been able to raise at least $10,000 to help those in need.

“We could’ve canceled that event in September and been done,” said Playmaker Fitness Foundation’s Director of Marketing and Program Development Rob Antcliff.

And Antcliff said the 4th quarter challenge wouldn’t have been possible without the commitment of the Izzo family.

“I mean people say they’re committed to something, well it’s easy to commit when times are good,” Antcliff said. “But really are you committed to it? And I believe that’s the number one thing, they are committed to this idea of giving back to the community.”

Rocky says the thing that she’s most proud of is that people are looking at the foundation as more than just her dad.

“My dad, he’ll say “Rocky and Lupe are the ones who started it,” and you know, we did,” Rocky said. “It didn’t really have anything to do with him or his name or what we can bring to the table, it was us trying to do something for the greater good and not having it be so much of “we’re just going to try and go off the coat tails of the name.” That’s not what it was about for us.”

“I think in this community, we would rather be known as human beings, as caring, loving people towards each other and our family and our community than as a win or loss game or statistic you know. So I think that is what will last,” Lupe said.

To learn more about the Izzo Legacy Family Foundation or the 4th Quarter Challenge, visit the link below.

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