The Michigan State family and the college basketball community lost a giant icon last week when former Spartans head coach Jud Heathcote passed away at the age of 90.
Heathcote spent the latter 19 of his 24 seasons as a college basketball coach at MSU, compiling 340 of his 420 career coaching wins with the Spartans. His eventual successor, current Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo, has continued the winning tradition in East Lansing. This season, the team plans to honor Heathcote in various ways.
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This year’s team will be wearing patches on the jerseys throughout the season. A design for the patch has yet to be completed at this time.
In addition to the commemorative patches, Michigan State will also have a special tribute game to further honor Heathcote. The home game on February 10 against Purdue, will which include countless memories of honoring the former Spartans head coach as well as a reunion of some of his former players.
Izzo shared his thoughts on the news to honor his former boss throughout the season and is eagerly awaiting the February 10 tribute game.
“Jud might be gone, but he will live on as a part of our basketball program and our university as we dedicate the upcoming season to his memory,” MSU head coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “Every time we take the court, the patches on the uniforms will remind us of the man who set a great foundation for anything we accomplish now.”
“I can’t wait for that Tribute Game against Purdue,” Izzo said. “I look forward to seeing so many of his former players paying their respect to a man to whom they owe so much. I know that weekend will involve amazing stories, laughter and tears. Jud had some great battles against the Boilermakers, and I’m hopeful that Gene Keady, one of his closest friends in the profession, will be able to join us for that game.”
MSU will play the first of two scheduled exhibitions on October 26 before opening the 2017-18 season at home on Friday, November 10 against North Florida. [View the entire schedule here]