Today we wrap up our tournament to decide the greatest Michigan State coach in the university’s illustrious athletic history. We seeded the coaches that will be involved in this, but the readers will be the ones casting their votes to decide who moves on. We are now in a surprising final round that will match Tom Izzo up against Mark Dantonio. There are a few things to remember before we conclude this tournament. The first thing is that we try not to show any favoritism based on whether or not someone coached one of the two major revenue sports. However, being able to sustain success over time when coaches in men’s basketball and football tend to be fired more quickly than they do in the other sports carries a lot of weight. The second thing is that winning at least one national championship was also important when considering the seeds.
(1) Karl Schlademan vs. (5) Tom Izzo (88.89%)
(2) Biggie Munn vs. (6) Mark Dantonio (60.67%)
(5) Tom Izzo – Basketball
It’s pretty difficult to find a greater ambassador in history for Michigan State University than Tom Izzo. The Big Ten’s longest-tenured coach when it comes to basketball, Izzo not only has the success that it takes to be mentioned among the greats like Duffy Daugherty and Ron Mason, but has the personality, especially when it comes to dealing with the media, to represent MSU as well as anyone. Izzo spent two seasons in the NIT before making the tournament 19 straight times. Of those 19 appearances, he went to seven Final Fours and won one national title. Throughout his 21 seasons at the helm, he won seven Big Ten Championships and five Big Ten Tournament Championships. Only George Denman and Chester Brewer have higher overall winning percentages than Izzo, but no one has a better conference record than MSU’s current coach. In fact, by winning 68.9% of his Big Ten games, his conference winning percentage is over 10% better than second place (John Bennington won 57.1% of his conference games). His 524 wins overall is also the best mark in school history. Earlier this year, it was announced that Izzo will be joining the all-time greats in the Naismith Hall of Fame.
(6) Mark Dantonio – Football
It has been a long time since the Michigan State football team has been as relevant as they are now. That credit goes to Mark Dantonio, who has led Michigan State to their most successful years since the 1960’s. Over his time in East Lansing, only Clarence “Biggie” Munn and John Macklin have higher winning percentages. He also has the highest winning percentage in conference play of Spartan coaches who have been in the Big Ten or MIAA for at least five years. Dantonio has made a bowl game in all nine of his seasons at the helm, breaking the previous program record of seven bowl game appearances by George Perles. He currently holds the program record for conference championships with three titles. Though helped somewhat by recent schedule changes and postseason additions, Dantonio has also set Big Ten marks, becoming the first coach in conference history to win 11 games in five of six seasons.
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