Spartan community reacts to the death of former coach Jud Heathcote
On Monday night, MSU Athletics announced in a press release that legendary basketball coach Jud Heathcote died at 90 in Spokane, Washington. Heathcote was the head coach for the Spartans for 19 years.
His accolades include guiding MSU to its first NCAA Tournament title in 1979, nine NCAA Tournament appearances and three regular season championships.
Member of the 1979 championship team, Greg Kelser, said he was saddened by the loss of a coach, mentor and later on, friend.
"There's no doubting the positive impact that he had on my life, in terms of teaching me a great many things that comes with being a part of a team," Kelser said. "I'm just very pleased that I had the opportunity to have him be a part of my life."
Carl Valentino, MSU handball coach and good friend of Heathcote, said Heathcote was "a funny guy with a big heart."
"I think a lot of people saw him as being a little bit obnoxious and telling jokes about people, but underneath all that, you know there was just this caring guy," Valentino said. "It's as I've lost a friend. A real friend."
Earvin "Magic" Johnson was reached for comment, but is currently out of the country according to Magic Johnson Enterprises.
The basketball community reacted to Heathcote's death hours after it was announced.