Tom Izzo Goes Off On Illinois For Firing Bruce Weber

By Adam Hoge-

INDIANAPOLIS (CBS) — If you were expecting Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo to come into the interview room after beating Iowa Friday in a good mood, then you were wrong.

After addressing the game, Izzo set aside time to specifically address Illinois’ decision to fire Bruce Weber. And wow, he had a lot to say.

Here’s the full transcript of Izzo’s comments:

“I’m sick about it. I’m sick about it. And I’m sick about it — and make sure you understand the reason why.

They beat us early in January and I beat Ohio State, and so I have three problems. Bruce is a friend of mine. He’s been here since the Gene Keady days. He’s done it the right way. He
doesn’t cheat. He man’s up to his own responsibilities. Incredible, incredible person. I’ve recruited against him and lost and I’ve recruited against him and won, and hasn’t changed things.

Number two, we have to understand that we blame kids for a lot of things. Kids have changed. Now we have administrators that are pulling the rug under ourselves in the middle of January when you’re 16 and 6 or 7 or whatever it was, and we publicly talk about — we’ll make decisions at the end of the year.

I don’t know what you guys think of kids because they haven’t changed much, but if there’s one place they’ve changed, they’re a little more fragile. Not as many two-parent homes. Not as good a school systems that are holding kids accountable and demanding. And so now we put that on those poor kids? And then we’re surprised that they lose 9 out of 10?

I don’t know who’s beaten me the worst, probably Bo (Ryan), but second on that list — and I’m canonized as something some of the time. I think it was ridiculous the way that thing was handled. And if I take abuse for that, I really don’t care because I’ve also been the president of our association. This isn’t about a friendship. This is about a profession.

And whenever you’re in an organization, whether it be yours, whether it be mine, or whether it be a business one, the only way you can be successful is if, top to bottom, from the president to the trainer, we’re all on the same page, and that in five, six months you can determine something.

I feel bad for the Illini nation because somebody’s — somebody pulled the rug out from under them. I feel bad for those players that have been there that, in my estimation, weren’t given a fair chance back about the middle of January, whenever that famous statement was made.

But if you look at that team from that statement, it went directly down. And I feel worse for Bruce because we lost a good soldier. And yeah, friendship is some of it, but it’s not all of it.

We lost a good coach. We got a coach that beat me and my team more often than not, and I just – I can’t figure that out. I can’t figure out how you guys allow it.

You guys are always figuring out the negatives of things. I can’t figure out how you guys allow it.

And my wife and I shed a tear this morning over it, and it was half for Bruce and half for my profession.

But unless there’s things — and I will publicly state this — that I don’t know, but when I heard those comments back in January, it made me sick and I said there’s a problem.

And so I hope the administrators that made those statements have a good game plan, but you guys lost a good guy, we lost a good guy, and I think — I just hope he gets another job. And
I’m going to do everything in my power to help him. And I guess that’s all I’ll say because I’ll probably put my foot in my mouth because if it was HBO, we could get at it right now and I’d really be fired up about it, because I just think — I can’t believe — I can’t believe nobody’s looked at when those comments were made and where that team went.

I mean, this guy has won more games than anybody — percentage than anybody that’s been at the school. And he’s done it the right way, and that’s not easy to do. And it’s not an easy job there. And when a big time recruit’s father, I think — watch what I say here — comes out and makes statements, I mean, you better have a good idea the guy you’re dealing with.

And I know this. I’ve known Bruce Weber since the day I was a grad assistant. There’s not a classier, better guy — and I don’t want to just hear he’s a nice guy — better coach. He’s had some things thrown at him, too, with injuries and guys leaving early and stuff like that.

So I’m sad, more sad for my profession than I am for Bruce because he’s a man. I’ve seen him in his press conference. He’ll man-up and he’ll get it done.

So sorry I had to gun on a soapbox, but I’ll leave it at that.”

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  • tom sharp

    I stopped counting at 20, how many of Izzo’s nitwits committed crimes and how many graduate. My guess is it’s no better than 50/50. All of these guys are overpaid and deserve no mercy for wasting space in a university with the idiots on their roster. Weber lasted longer than he deserved. He recruited losers and criminals who behaved like losers and criminals. Enough already–turn the page!

    • J-Dubya


  • zatso

    All nice words.

    The bottom line, they all make enough money to retire on and lead a heck of a good life for doing an easy job.

    Cry all you want but you won’t get sympathy from 99% of the people who have REAL JOBS.

    Till the country, the schools, and the People wake up to common sense, keep your cry-baby rants to yourself.

  • Aaron

    81%, Tom Izzo’s graduation rate, but don’t allow me to let stats interfere with a very good factless based rant.

    • tom sharp

      No way unless a Major in Basket counts! The guy that came up with that percentage probably played for him!

      • Aaron

        Yeah, they probably hired some kind of specialist or something. No once could have done anything crazy like divide the number of players that graduated by the total number of players. Maybe he was a Major in Number.

  • Rick

    I’m sure Mr. Weber is a nice guy. But Izzo didn’t listen to all of Mr. Weber’s press conferences. He sounded like a beat man.

    • Carlos

      That was his point. When the AD made his comment, Weber lost his team and it went downhill from there. If players know the coach is gone, he can’t make demands.

      • Markie Maypo

        Weber lost that team in DECEMBER when they stopped listening to him. Not after Thomas’ comments. Watch the games. Not the press conferences. I like Bruce as well as anyone, but he WAS NOT doing the job.

  • JB

    The bottom line here is, Izzo needs to keep his nose out of U of I affairs and his mouth shut on national media regarding another school’s administration… It is simply none of his business. He is out of line and should be reprimanded by the Big Ten and Msu administration.

    • Carlos

      What happened to Weber can happen to Izzo very easily so he CAN say something and it IS his business. The AD totally cut Weber’s legs (among other body parts) off and no one can really be shocked that they tanked after that incident…

      • J-Dubya

        Maybe going 16-7 with a lot of bad losses isn’t good enough for the new AD? It is UofI’s culture. Not MSU’s.

        He should have kept his mouth shut.

    • Aaron

      Yeah, where does Izzo get off? You’d think someone asked him a question and he answered it or he was President of the NABC or osmething. Let’s hold our breath for that reprimand.

      • tom sharp

        Here we go Aaron:

        Mi chi ga n Sta te 985 80 44 100 58

        I couldn’t copy the numbers cleanly because they were laid out badly in the report for copying and pasting .

        Not sure what APR means but that is the 985 number, my guess is the total number of student athletes in the school. The 80 number is Michigan State’s student-athlete graduation rate for 2010. The 44 is the percentage of African-American basketball players that graduated, the 100 is the percentage of white basketball players that graduated and the 58 is the total percentage of basketball players that graduated. Ergo, the white guys who mostly play maybe 10 minutes a year all graduate, the black “studs” are a lot less successful. The latter was my original reference in the Weber statement. He and almost all other major colleges recruit gang bangers and nitwits who can run fast, shoot well (guns as well as balls) but basically have no business in a college classroom. Then everyone is supposed to feel bad when the coach loses his multimillion dollar contract because these gang bangers can’t perform as a team, or knock off a liquor store (see U. of Tennessee for a recent example) in their spare time rather than doing homework.

      • tom sharp

        Here are the headers for the info above, again not conducive to copying and pasting.

        5 | P a g e                                                 K e e p i n g   S c o r e   W h e n   i t   C o u n t s   C O N T ’ D …  
        School APR
        St udent ‐At hlet e
        Basket ball 
        St udent ‐At hlet e
        Whit e 
        Basket ball 
        St udent ‐At hlet e
        Overall Basket ball
        St udent ‐At hlet e
        Graduation  Rates  for  2010  Men’s  Teams  in  the  NCAA  Division  I  Basketball  Tournament

  • Rob

    Huh? Say what you want about whether or not Tom Izzo should have commented on this firing(free country), but you cant argue with his success rate both on and off the court, and that 81% graduation rate. And oh by the way, he is doing this with a team that is minus too players he booted off last year because of off the court issues. C’mon, you can be angry one way or the other about the firing, but quit making stupid, baseless comments about a person you obviously know NOTHING about.

  • Illini AD Thomas Refuses To Comment On Izzo Rant « CBS Chicago

    […] Best Italian Beefs In Chicago var addthis_product = 'wpp-261'; var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true};if (typeof(addthis_share) == "undefined"){ addthis_share = {"templates":{"twitter":"{{title}} {{url}}"},"url_transforms":{"shorten":{"twitter":"bitly"}},"shorteners":{"bitly":{"login":"cbslocal","apiKey":"R_a42469be25a4cd114f9641fad362d038"}}};}(WSCR) Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas refused to comment Monday on Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo’s well publicized criticism of how he handled the firing of Bruce Weber. […]

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