R.I.P Coach Jud Heathcote
Former Michigan State basketball coach Jud Heathcote, who coached the Spartans and Magic Johnson to the 1978-79 NCAA basketball championship, died August 28, 2017 at age 90.
Heathcote became head coach at Michigan State in 1976 after coaching Montana from 1971-76. The 1979 NCAA Championship game featured a matchup of Johnson and the Spartans versus Larry Bird and the Indiana State Sycamores. The Spartans won 75-64, and Bird and Johnson went on to become two of the all time NBA greats.
Heathcote retired after the 1994-95 season, and assistant coach Tom Izzo, whom Heathcote had hired, was named head coach. Izzo is still there; the Spartans have had only two head coaches in 41 years. Izzo’s 2000 Michigan State team also won the NCAA title.
Heathcote, who played college basketball at Washington State, retired to Spokane. He was elected to the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.