A Michigan State University legend passed away Monday at age 90.
Coach Jud Heathcote led the MSU basketball team from 1976 to 1995, winning the school's first national championship in 1979. Heathcote recruited Earvin "Magic" Johnson in 1977, and he hired current coach Tom Izzo as an assistant in 1983.
Coach Heathcote made me a better person, player, and champion. He turned a young kid into a man. Thank you so much for all you did for me.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) August 29, 2017
The only two basketball coaches Michigan State has had over last 42 years. Jud Heathcote and a kid he gave a $7K salary to in 1983. pic.twitter.com/P6rG935Abi— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 29, 2017
In his 19 years at MSU, Healthcote earned three Big Ten titles and nine NCAA Tournament appearances. He retired with a 339-221 overall record.
In a statement, Tom Izzo mourned the loss of his mentor:
Without a doubt, he was one of the most influential people in my life, giving me a chance when no one else would. Any coaching success I've ever had is because of him. Long after he left Michigan State, he was still one of the first people I would call when I had a tough decision in coaching or life.