EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Though Tom Izzo is a Hall of Famer, a national champion, and the all-time winningest coach in the Big Ten, becoming a father is still his favorite accomplishment.
Izzo is quite the family man, so it’s only fitting that his son, Steven Izzo, is on the Spartans basketball team.
He joined the team four years ago and has managed to become one of the Izzone’s favorite players.
Steven Izzo gets asked all the time, “What’s it like to have Tom Izzo as a father?”
He said his father keeps a good balance between being a coach and being a dad.
“You get the coach side when you’re here [with the team] and he’s more of a coach in all aspects of life. He lives the normal parent life – just busier and more well-known.”
Tom Izzo said he enjoys having his son on the Spartans, and jokes about the dynamic’s more awkward moments, such as when he has to discipline the team.
“It’s got to be tough on him. After you’ve just chewed your team out, and every player’s swearing at the coach and mad at the coach – you’ve got to sit there as the coach’s son. The good news is Steven’s probably jumping right in there with them,” Tom Izzo said.
Growing up with Tom Izzo as his father, Steven Izzo was able to have incredible experiences like sitting courtside at the NBA Finals and meeting stars like Kobe Bryant.
Steven Izzo recalls a story about his father losing track of him at a Golden State Warriors game. He was brought back to his dad by none other than Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
“Coach Kerr brought me in the locker room and my dad was freaking out. [He and Kerr] are talking and my dad’s like, ‘I don’t know where Steven is!’ [Kerr said] ‘Steven’s in the locker room.’ I was in the locker room – me, Kevin Durant, and Draymond. I was talking to those guys, it was fun,” Steven Izzo said.
With all the perks, there are some downsides to having a father as busy as Tom Izzo.
But his dad still made the time for him any time he could.
“Obviously you miss some instances that are important. Some of my middle school, high school games – he didn’t get to go to all of them. For the most part, he was always there,” Steven Izzo said.
Steven Izzo wasn’t always sure he would join the team, during high school he acted as the ball boy for every single at-home Spartans game.
“When I was in high school it was, you could walk on, you could coach as a special assistant. But the desire really was to play. I didn’t know what the whole coaching thing would have been,” Steven Izzo said.
Tom Izzo said it’s been great that no matter what, he gets to spend valuable time with his son.
“There’s something about coming to practice every day knowing I get to see my son for a couple of hours. There’s something about our tradition that we take a picture at half court at every arena we go to that night before the shootaround,” Tom Izzo said.
You can watch the full interviews with Steven and Tom Izzo in the above video player.