The cancellation of the NCAA Tournament thanks to the spread of COVID-19 has hit sports fans everywhere hard. Of course, the athletes and coaching staff who worked extremely hard to be in a position to succeed in the annual dance are now dealing with a serious void.
And that's certainly no exception for Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo. As he put it, this is the first time in four decades that he hasn't been either watching or coaching basketball at this time of year.
“We’re all wondering what might have been,” he said Saturday morning. “This is the first time in 40 years I haven’t been coaching — or watching — basketball this time of the year.”
“Trying to be a real father, a real husband … maybe a real human,” he said of what he's doing to fill in the time….It’s unprecedented. Maybe it’s time to see what the other side of life is like.”
Izzo and the rest of his team got the news of the NCAA Tournament's cancellation on Thursday morning, just an hour before they were set to travel to Indianapolis.
“We were having the best practice of the year,” Izzo said. “You should’ve seen the way Cassius was playing. At one point I walked by (recruiting coordinator) Doug Wojcik and told him, ‘We have a chance to do some things.’”
Of course, it was an incredibly difficult to share with the young men that he's dedicated his professional life to molding.
“That was hard,” he said. “There were tears. Those seniors … they were half worried, half scared, half mad, every emotion there is, I think they had. I looked at Cash. He was stunned.”
Not only has the NCAA Tournament been cancelled, but the NHL and NBA have suspended league play in order to combat the spread of the illness. The latest CDC recommendations indicate that it could be several weeks yet before things return to normal.
– – Quotes via Shawn Windsor of The Detroit Free Press Link– –