Tom Izzo to Receive Humanitarian Award

Tom Izzo

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, an eight-time national Coach of the Year and the longest-tenured Big Ten men’s basketball coach ever, will be honored at the 2013 Devon Energy College Basketball Awards April 15 in Oklahoma City as the recipient of the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award.

Izzo, who has spent nearly two decades as the head coach at Michigan State and has led his team to a national championship and six trips to the Final Four, will be honored the same night as the Oscar Robertson Player of the Year, Henry Iba Coach of the Year, and Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year. The event will be held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and is presented by Devon Energy and produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City based non-profit charitable foundation.

The Tisdale Humanitarian Award honors an individual involved in college basketball who has made a significant positive impact on society. Legendary ESPN and hall of fame announcer Dick Vitale received the inaugural award in 2011 and Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski was honored last year. The award’s namesake, Wayman Tisdale, died in May 2009 after a two-year battle with cancer.

“Few coaches in collegiate athletics have endured and excelled like Tom Izzo,” says David Gillikin, 2012 chairman of the Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year Award Advisory Board. “His record of achieving the highest levels of success on the court together with his focus and success in graduating his players and positively impacting the community make him the ideal selection and adds another very significant name to the growing list of Tisdale Humanitarian honorees.”

Coach Izzo’s focus on helping his players to be successful students as well as successful athletes has helped him achieve an 80 percent graduation rate among players who complete their eligibility. In addition, Izzo is also an active volunteer in the community. Among his many efforts, he is very involved in raising funds for Coaches Vs. Cancer, Volunteers of America,Sparrow Hospital, and the V Foundation for Cancer Research. In 2009, Izzo was presented the Coaches Vs. Cancer Champion Award, recognizing his work and leadership in the fight to save lives from cancer making his selection very appropriate for the Tisdale honor.

As a college player at the University of Oklahoma from 1983 to 1985, Wayman Tisdale was a three-time Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and the first player in collegiate history to be named a first-team All American by the Associated Press in his freshman, sophomore, and junior seasons. He still holds the record at Oklahoma for the most points scored by any player through his freshman and sophomore seasons. He won a gold medal as a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team coached by Bobby Knight. After an All-American career at OU, Wayman set off for the NBA where the Indiana Pacers made him the second overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft. He went on to play for several NBA teams.

In 1997 Tisdale retired to focus on his musical career, what he often called his “first love”. In March 2007, Tisdale underwent treatment for cancer in his knee (osteosarcoma). In August of that year, Tisdale had part of his right leg amputated because of the bone cancer. Tisdale died on the morning of May 15, 2009 at St. John Medical Center in Tulsa, where his wife had taken him when he had trouble breathing. On May 21, 2009, 4,000 mourners attended Tisdale’s memorial service in Tulsa.

The Devon Energy College Basketball Awards are presented by Devon Energy, a leading independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company based in Oklahoma City.

The event is produced by Access Sports, an Oklahoma City-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to supporting various charitable causes, including funding prosthetic devices for needy individuals through the Wayman L. Tisdale Foundation, funding of youth basketball programs throughout the state of Oklahoma through the Wayman’s Lightning Basketball League, and other worthy charitable causes.

Tables and sponsorship information are available for the April 15 event at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum at the Tisdale Award website,, or by calling Scott Hill at 405-640-0406 or via e-mail at

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