They’re both legends, and they both have a healthy respect for one another.
Michigan State Spartans head coach Tom Izzo caught up with former Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein on a Big Ten Network Zoom call, where the pair shared several laughs while reminiscing about their battles on the hardwood.
And being the sportsman that he is, Izzo explained to Beilein that despite the age-old addage of needing to “hate” your rival, he just couldn’t do it.
“I think of when you came to Michigan and seriously, you know, we always laugh because I said ‘You gotta hate your rival’, but I always respected it – with you I couldn’t even hate my rival anymore,” Izzo said. “You made me better!”
Not only did Beilein echo Izzo’s sentiments, but also proposed an intriguing schedule change:
“Michigan and Michigan state need to be the last game of the year…..what two teams have had this success in the postseason in the last ten years?” Beilein opined.
Watch the full exchange below:
During his time in Ann Arbor, Beilein coached the Wolverines to a new golden age of basketball, finishing with 278 wins and leading them to two National Title appearances. He left the Wolverines in 2019 for an ill-fated tenure in the NBA as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Meanwhile, Izzo has led the Spartans to eight Final Fours, ten Big Ten championships, and six Big Ten Tournament championships in his 25 years at Michigan State. He also led them to to the 2000 NCAA Division I National Championship and the 2009 NCAA National Championship Game.