Tom Izzo lost his cool during Michigan State’s tight 76-65 victory over Bradley on Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. With the game close late in the second half, the Spartans coach berated freshman wing Aaron Henry so harshly during a timeout that other players separated them multiple times.
It began with Henry heading back to the bench during a timeout with Izzo approaching him and sticking his finger in the player’s face while yelling at him until teammates interceded. Once the team was huddled at the bench, players again held back Izzo after he got out of his seat to continue singling out Henry.
Izzo’s outburst made for an uncomfortable few moments of television. Henry probably didn’t feel too great getting chewed out in front of the entire country, either. When asked about it after the game, Izzo doubled down.
“I don’t know what kind of business you’re in,” Izzo said. “But I tell ya what, if I was a head of a newspaper, and you didn’t do your job, you’d be held accountable.”
Tom Izzo was asked about getting after Aaron Henry.
“I don’t know what kind of business you’re in, but I tell ya what, if I was a head of a newspaper, and you didn’t do your job, you’d be held accountable.” pic.twitter.com/kqcWykUY6X
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) March 21, 2019
Where my thinking face emoji?
There is exactly one problem with Tom Izzo analogy
Aaron Henry isn’t his employee. He is a “student-athlete” and receives little more than a scholarship for helping Michigan State advance as a No. 2 in this tournament.
This tournament, by the way, is being shown on television because of an 8-year, $8.8 billion contract. The Big Ten is cashing extra checks with eight teams in the tournament, earning big bucks for conference “units” that were worth $273K last season, and are paid out over multiple season.
Izzo, meanwhile, is among the highest paid public employees in the state of Michigan, earning $3.5 million per season.
Aaron Henry is no employee. He’s a student. If a math teacher at Michigan State did this to a teenager who failed to correctly answer a calculus equation, he would probably be fired. In college sports, we laud these coaches for their ability to motivate.
Michigan State plays Minnesota on Saturday. Aaron Henry better be ready.