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Tom Izzo connects with fans at weekly Reno's East radio show

February 19, 2016
Senior forward Colby Wollenman, left, and mens basketball head coach Tom Izzo interact with the audience during The Tom Izzo Show on Feb. 15, 2016 at Reno's East on 1310 Abbot Road in East Lansing. During this weekly show, Izzo discusses previous and upcoming games for the Spartans.
Senior forward Colby Wollenman, left, and mens basketball head coach Tom Izzo interact with the audience during The Tom Izzo Show on Feb. 15, 2016 at Reno's East on 1310 Abbot Road in East Lansing. During this weekly show, Izzo discusses previous and upcoming games for the Spartans. —
Photo by Carly Geraci | and Carly Geraci The State News

Monday night’s at Reno’s East MSU basketball fans gather to watch the live broadcast of the Tom Izzo Show.

This past Monday, men's basketball head coach Tom Izzo gave a recap of the Valentine’s Day game and had special guest Colby Wollenman come and talk about his time on the team, his hometown Big Horn, Wyoming and plans for medical school.

Carla Robert, a longtime fan of the the show, has been coming for years.

“I like to hear about the inside stuff,” Robert said. “I like to hear Tom talk about the players and stuff that you wouldn’t hear otherwise.”

Seats for the show fill quickly, as reservations are made before the season starts.

Helen Widener, manager at Reno’s East, has worked the event for more than eight years.

“It’s the people — that’s what it’s really about,” Widener said. “Tom is really good with the people here, he’s funny, stays after the show, really interactive; he really brings people here.”

Izzo, who started the show 21 years ago, said it started when fans started to become interested in the community.

“The way that I can be out with them (fans), you know, sometimes people put us on pedestals that we don’t belong on,” Izzo said. “It’s nice to be in here with everybody.”

Izzo emphasized that fan interaction is the main goal of the radio show — providing insight and updates on the team. And after a tough loss, Izzo said the crowd in Reno’s makes him feel good.

“Some of these people have come year after year, I appreciate the loyalty," he said. "I feel like I’ve given them loyalty, they’ve given me loyalty and I guess that’s what I appreciate most.”

The show is broadcast on air, but interaction between breaks are what keeps the energy going. Raffles and giveaways take place for prizes such as MSU basketball tickets and gift certificates.

“Everybody loves it. All these people that come here are our regulars, they come on other shows too,” Widner said.

Reno’s East hosts shows for Mark Dantonio, Tom Anastos and Suzy Merchant as well. All the information for those shows can be found here.

If you’re looking to attend a show, you must reserve soon. Standing reservations are year round, but they fill up fast. Reservations are made online or over the phone.

“We always have a waiting list,” Widener said.

The show is run on Spartan Sports Network.

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