When Mike Gundy stepped to the podium on Sept. 22, 2007, newspaper in hand, visor cutting off blood flow to his brain, he had no way of knowing he was about to change college sports forever. But by the time his speech had reached its Icarian zenith—"COME AFTER ME! I'M A MAN, I'M 40!"—nothing would ever be the same.
Now, nearly 12 years later, we can still hear the echoes of Gundy reverberating through the press room every time a coach steps to the microphone to defend their amateur athletes. Sure, not all of them can rock a mullet quite like Mike, but they're all walking through the door he opened. They're all booking the same guilt trip itinerary. If we play like crap, it's not our fault. Kids are kids, and some of them are good kids at that.
Enter Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, who wasn't particularly interested in discussing the 2-3 zone following the 16th-ranked Spartans' 75-70 loss to Penn State on Tuesday night. Instead, he threw on the proverbial blaze orange polo and went to work blasting Spartan nation (can't blame him there) for how they've been treating 16-7 squad on "that frickin' Twitter" of late.
Needless to say, "That frickin' Twitter" is "I'M A MAN, I'M 40!" for the social media age. And while the results weren't quite as firey as Gundy's, they were perhaps even more terrifying. Izzo exudes all the gravitas of a grizzled mob boss. He doesn't need to shout to make himself heard. The man has dissolved bodies in acid. If you say one more word about his players, you'll be floating face down in Lake Ontario with a couple o' tommy gun slugs in ya back.
"I get paid a lot money," Izzo concludes, putting a humblebraggy spin on Gundy's meltdown. "So take your shots at me, but don't take them on a kid who's been a 3.7 student who's done more for this university than most of those people have. It's despicable to me."
Sure boss. Whatever you say goes.