Tom Izzo is more than familiar with being a top target in coaching searches over the years.
The last time that happened was back in 2010, when Izzo had the chance to jump to the NBA as a top target of the Cleveland Cavaliers, just as LeBron was making his decision on whether to stay or test the free agency waters.
While he seriously considered the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach a generational talent, he decided to stay in East Lansing and made a statement about being a Spartan for life that closed (and locked) the door on all future speculation about his interest in future jobs and further cemented his legacy at Michigan State.
So when he was asked the speculation linking Mel Tucker to the opening at LSU, and if it's hard and a distraction for players to hear that noise heading into a critical match up with Michigan with both teams in the top 10, Izzo provided a unique perspective.
"They definitely hear it all. I'm not really worried about it. I talked to Mel. I think in this day and age, it's just part of the deal we go through."
"But is it hard? I mean, it's hard. But there's always gonna be a rumor. Are you taking a new job or are you getting fired? Very seldom is it, 'Oh man, that coach did a hell of a job and he's going to be here for a while.' It's is he getting fired because he didn't do a good enough job, or is he leaving because he did too good of a job?
"Every indication that Mel's given me, we are fundraising, and we are working, and we are going to have an incredible football facility. We are stepping up right now. You know what's been fun? It's been all of us. Everybody together is working together to get a place. I don think there's any question about it - he wants a place like this place. Then he wants the consistency."
"Having a winning team, as I said, is ok. Having a winning program is something legacies are made of."
No one understands that last part better than Tom Izzo.
The Wolverines will kickoff in East Lansing against the Spartans at noon EST and you can catch the game on FOX.
See the full quote, courtesy of Chris Solari below.