You've heard them all before: Izzo is leaving Michigan State for (fill in the blank) college or (fill in the blank) NBA club. In the past couple of years, Izzo's name has been linked/speculated/reported to college openings at Kentucky and Oregon and NBA jobs with New Jersey and Cleveland.
Izzo's job status has become such a regular occurrence, East Lansing, Mich., officials should stage their own annual event. Every April, Izzo can pop out of the coaches' offices at the Breslin Center to announce he's staying. If he sees his shadow, then there are six more weeks of mindless speculation.
Two weeks ago -- and a week before Izzo was reported as one of three "dream choices" by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer for the Cavs' opening -- Izzo talked to FanHouse about the constant reports about him leaving Michigan State.
"I am disappointed [by the speculation], because you can just throw it [the reports] against the wall," Izzo said. "As a columnist or a talk radio guy, it's OK to have your opinion but it should be somewhat educated. The rumors, 80 percent of the time those aren't true."
On May 21, Izzo was honored along with former Colts and Bucs head coach Tony Dungy at the Dick Vitale Gala at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. Nearly two months earlier, it was reported -- courtesy of a Eugene, Ore., TV station -- that Izzo would be offered college basketball's largest contract to leave Michigan State.
Izzo said the speculation with other jobs is a product of Michigan State's success.
"I also look at it as a compliment," Izzo said. "I've had a few NBA jobs that come up and ... my name [is mentioned as a candidate]. I don't get carried away with it because when those jobs come up, you have to have a college guy, an assistant and a former head coach [listed as candidates]. There's kind of a pool of people. I'm one of a couple of guys that gets thrown in with the college guys. But it's not as good for my ego as you think.
"I've had a few opportunities. I just tell our people this -- because we get recruited against in the Big Ten [with other teams asking] 'Will Tom be there?' -- I think there was a 13-year period where six or seven Big Ten schools had already gone through three coaches. Some of the ones that told me that I wouldn't be here realized that they're too removed from the seat they sat in and I'm still here."
Why would Izzo leave the dynasty he's built at Michigan State?
In the past 12 years, he's been to six Final Fours -- only UCLA's John Wooden and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski can match that success in that time frame -- and compiled a 364-146 record.
The Spartans won the 2000 national title and, under Izzo, have won or shared six regular season Big Ten regular season championships, won two Big Ten tournaments and made a Big Ten-best 13 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
"He has been talked about before in this way and will be again," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis told the Associated Press when Izzo's name was linked to Oregon. "We have to consider that part of the deal when you have the best college basketball coach in the country. I talk to him all the time and I know he is totally focused on winning another national championship and taking the program to a higher level."
Izzo, who makes at least $3 million a year, is under contract at Michigan State through 2016. Next season could be one of his most challenging -- and Izzo's got no one to blame but himself.
"Every year we schedule the world," Izzo said. "Next year I may have bit off more than I can chew, but it's going to be fun to try and accomplish."
Michigan State's non-conference schedule includes games against national champion Duke (in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge), Syracuse and Texas. The Spartans will also participate in the Maui Invitational in a field that includes Kentucky, Washington, UConn and Wichita State.
The Spartans should do just fine. They're ranked No. 2 in FanHouse's early 2010-11 poll and return Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas (both coming off injuries) along with Korie Lucious and Draymond Green.
The winningest coach in school history also has signed the nation's No. 10 recruiting class, according to Scout.com, consisting of 6-foot-2 guard Keith Appling, 6-10 center Adreian Payne, 6-7 guard Russell Byrd and 6-9 forward Alex Gauna.
Izzo also already has a commitment for 2011 from highly-touted 6-3 guard Dwaun Anderson, so it's easy to see why Izzo, who just completed his 27th season at Michigan State, would want to finish his career a Spartan.
However, he won't make any "I'll never leave" promises.
"I've never been one to say never," Izzo said. "My good friend, Nick Saban ... they're still hitting him on [saying] 'I'll never be the Alabama coach.'
"I don't say that, but I'm happy where I'm at. It's a compliment if people think you're good enough to look at jobs, but I think my loyalty -- if people that are recruiting against me ever say he won't be there, there are very few people that haven't moved in 27 years.
"I've stayed there. Krzyzewski has a few [years] on me [at Duke] and so does [Syracuse's Jim] Boeheim. As an assistant or a head coach at Michigan State, I think I've served my time well and if that doesn't pay dividends and if that doesn't make people believe I'll be here, I can't help it."
Contact FanHouse senior writer Brett McMurphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BrettmcmurphY