Izzo: 'I'm happy with the job I have'

Updated: March 30, 2010, 9:19 AM ET
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said Monday that he hasn't been contacted by Oregon officials about replacing former Ducks coach Ernie Kent.

An Oregon TV station reported Monday that school officials are ready to offer Izzo the richest coaching contract in college basketball history.

However, Oregon senior associate athletic director Joe Giansante told the Eugene Register-Guard the report was "grossly inaccurate."

"There's absolutely no truth to it and we're not going to comment any further," Giansante told the newspaper.

Kentucky gave John Calipari a $31.65 million, eight-year contract last year, the largest known deal for a college basketball coach. Private schools such as Duke aren't required by law to reveal the salaries for their coaches.

Izzo is earning more than $3 million per season at Michigan State and is under contract through 2016.

The latest version of his deal was signed on Sept. 4, 2009, and includes a seven-year rollover contract. Izzo has made $200,000 in performance bonuses this season and will get another $150,000 if the Spartans win the national championship.

"I haven't been contacted," Izzo said. "The truth of the matter, whenever you have success, you get to be one of 10 names that pop up on these lists. I haven't been contacted, and I'm not going to comment on it again. I have a job to do, and I'm happy with the job I have."

The Oregonian reported Monday that former Ducks athletic director Pat Kilkenny and Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon were believed to have met to talk about the job in New York during the weekend. Kilkenny is heading the school's search after Mike Bellotti resigned as AD to become a college football analyst at ESPN.

Oregon television station KEZI reported school officials confirmed that Izzo is on Oregon's short list of candidates.

Oregon dismissed Kent, its winningest coach, two weeks ago after 13 seasons at his alma mater. The Ducks were 16-16 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10 last season.

Izzo, a native of Iron Mountain, Mich., is one of only seven coaches in history to lead their teams to the Final Four at least six times.

Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is used to Izzo's name being mentioned for openings in what has become a rite of spring.

"He has been talked about before in this way and will be again," Hollis said in a telephone interview Monday night. "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."

The Atlanta Hawks once tried to lure Izzo to the NBA and his name has been mentioned over the years as a candidate to lead Kentucky and Kansas, among other schools.

Izzo is in his 15th season at Michigan State, where he was promoted to replace Jud Heathcote when he retired following the 1994-95 season.

He helped the Spartans beat Tennessee on Sunday, earning a trip to Indianapolis -- where he won the school's second national title in 2000. The No. 5-seeded Spartans play No. 5-seeded Butler in Saturday's national semifinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Mark Schlabach covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mark Schlabach | email

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