Michigan State Basketball: Armed Forces visits MSU practice

East Lansing, Mich.– Aside from being one of the nation’s best college basketball coaches and one of college basketball’s greatest men, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo is also a patriot and proud American.

Towards the end of the Spartans practice today, the nations 10th ranked team was huddled up around their head coach as they were getting their final words in before they were dismissed . Coach Izzo looks to his left and before you know it, the circular huddle parts like the Red Sea and in comes Major Greg Cooper and Master Sergeant Kim Beauchamp, both are lifelong Spartan fans, to present coach Tom Izzo with a flag.

They didn’t just present Izzo with a flag simply because they are big time Spartan fans, but because Tom Izzo did something very meaningful for Major Cooper back in 2010.

Major Greg Cooper and MSU head coach Tom Izzo

Major Greg Cooper, 49, was based out of Afghanistan when coach Izzo sent a signed championship flag to Major Cooper. “While in Afghanistan we had personal comfort items sent over ahead of us that reminded us of home, and my Michigan State flag was in there,” Major Cooper stated. “Coach Izzo had signed a flag and sent it over, and I thought what more appropriate way of saying thank you, because of the patriot that he is and the support that he shows for the military, and armed forces in general, to have a flag flown over our base for him.”

The flag for coach Izzo was sent over on Veteran’s Day of 2010 from Camp Sabalu-Harrison in Bagram, Afghanistan.

Major Cooper was in Bagram for 10 months, with a 12 month deployment, training the Afghanistan National Army Officers in sustainment operations.

Michigan State star freshman forward Branden Dawson has been exposed to some of the greatest experiences in his life since becoming a Spartan. “It’s a great experience being apart of these big moments,” Dawson said. “Playing on an aircraft carrier was the greatest moment of my life, and meeting these troops that support us and serve our country is a great experience.”

Like those that have shown support to Tom Izzo and his teams throughout his 17 years as a head coach at Michigan State, coach Izzo has continuously reached out to those who have meant a lot to not just him, but our nation as a whole.

A picture of the flag that was given to Tom Izzo from Major Cooper is below:







  • Donald Ackerman

    Coach Izzo’s energy seems inexhaustible. ┬áHis leadership must keep assistants constantly hunting for new ways to brighten the M.S.U. basketball legacy, encourage student-athletes and give M.S.U. graduates (e.g. fans) fresh reasons to be thankful. ┬áHis skill of “making-good-things-happen” is awesome!

  • Ctankersley54

    Great post, James. It scares me to think how different things may have been, had Izzo decide to take his chances in Cleveland.
    Go State!