Izzo: "I don't think I'm a candidate"

If someone asks me do I have an interest in football? Yeah, I'd have an interest in football. Would you have an interest in a football job? I'd have to say 'no' but deep down I'd have to say 'yeah, I would'. Would I leave Michigan State basketball for football right now? No, I've got some business I want to finish.

Does he want to be the football coach?

``I'd love to be the football coach (smiling)....of the Green Bay Packers.

You know, I guess the best way and the shortest way to answer it is I told Lou Anna (K. Simon) that I would do anything that I can do to help this program. I think a lot of people have stated things that you would want in a program."

``What's being stated is, there's an academic statement, there's athletic statements, their discipline statements, there's social statements and I've been fortunate enough that our program has covered a lot of those same qualities. So I guess, if I was to be honest about it, I'd be honored that my name would even be brought up. Anybody who knows me, knows that I - for longer than I've been here - football has been a love of mine, beyond most normal human beings."

``Then of course, the first question is "what do you know about football? What could you give and what could you do?" And I think, like any corporation, why do coaches become good corporate leaders sometimes and things like that? And there's just qualities that are needed to be successful in anything you do and I think our program has demonstrated some of those qualities, and yet, not all of them."

``So I don't think I'm a candidate. I'm honored to say I was a 'thought of', a 'thought of' guy that maybe, it's a compliment that people want the program or the coach that comes here - which I have all the feeling in the world that we're going to get a good coach - to be like ours. There's a lot of programs out that in football and basketball that I want to be like."

``I'm a basketball coach and I've got a big job ahead of me and I've got some exciting times because there's been a little bit of a glimmer of hope here - and I'd say you'd all agree - you question how good we'll be, I think we all still question how good we'll be, but there is a glimmer of some improvements in certain games, the Youngstown game when we really prepared for a Big Ten type game and we played extremely well and this one (Maryland game) and so I'm going to put all my efforts towards that now and helping us get a very, very, good football coach, which I think they'll do." Follow up-- "It's been an interesting run here for me in a lot of ways (there) so many things that have gone through my mind with Mariucci and the passing of Bo (Schembechler) there's so many things you think about in this job, but I also believe that we are going to get a great football coach and someone - I hope I can say this - who's done it like we've done it, the academic and the social side and the recruiting side and yet has more football knowledge than I have and that would be the best way to put it."

I've had people call me for a month, maybe longer. I've had people call me for two years.. when I was 26 years old I turned down a chance to go to Cal State-Fullerton and be a defensive backs coach.

(Editor's note: Steve Mariucci coached at Cal State Fullerton from 1980-82 in one of his first coaching jobs. The offer Izzo mentions was the same time Mariucci was at the school)

It's not like....I mean.....I don't know. It's somewhat embarassing because if I was a football coach (interested in this position) and my name (Tom Izzo's name) came up, I'd be mad I guess and yet, it's somewhat interesting to think about the neat parts of football.

I must have watched ten hours of Bo's deal this weekend at the wee hours of the morning and I've said it my whole life, there's something about football that brings just a different feel and it engulfs a community and a student body like no other sport can. That is kind of....exciting. It's kind of a lot of things, but we're going to get a great football coach, not a good one. And I really believe that when we do, we're going to have to do what we didn't do with a very good football coach that we had, we've all got to embrace it.

I say that as much for you as I do me.

It's time that if we all want what we say we want- the media,the fans, the internet people, the students, we'd better all get behind somebody because I can guarantee you whether it's Tom Izzo, Vince Lombardi, Steve Mariucci or the six or seven candidates they're looking at now, nobody's going to be successful without that kind of support. And we all wonder why wew haven't been (successful) and I really believe its because for a lot of reasons - not your fault, not my fault, not their fault - but we haven't been on the same page and I just don't think you can accomplish the things you have to accomplish in a sport that is so critical without that."

Do you anticipate being a candidate in the next few days?

"Um,um, I don't. I don't think it was anything that was....I think it was far-fetched when it started. I think there are some very good friends of mine that would...um.... I don't think it was said or done for a 'pie in the sky'type thing. I don't think it was..... You've never seen me at a loss for words have you?

I think... I think people would like to see our football program have the success our basketball program has had and yet, I'm not ready to canonize our basketball program. I think, what you do with anything in life is you look to have somebody with similar interest and goals and maybe..uh...you know the way they handle things. Mind gets a little more goofy because I've never hit it since the day I graduated from high school. I almost went to college on a football scholarship, fortunately they were smaller schools in Northern Michigan. Never it be said that's where my interests were. So in that respect if someone asks me do I have an interest in football? Yeah, I'd have an interest in football. Would you have an interest in a football job? I'd have to say 'no' but deep down I'd have to say 'yeah, I would'. Would I leave Michigan State basketball for football right now? No, I've got some business I want to finish.

Someday when I'm real old, no insult Gus (Ganakas), but maybe when I get up with you and I'm still going, would I be Mariucci's assistant somewhere, you damn right, I would. So right now, I'm going to worry about Vermont, I'm going to worry about helping our president get the best football coach we can get and I'm going to worry about seeing if I can get this team good enough to accomplish some things so everybody will still feel the same way about our basketball program."

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