Gus Ganakas, former men's basketball coach, dead at 92
Former men's basketball coach, Gus Ganakas died at age 92, Jan. 1, according to a press release. He lead the Spartans for seven years from 1969–76 with an overall record of 89-84.
Current coach Tom Izzo said in the press release that Ganakas helped make Spartan basketball what is today and put the team's continued success over his own pride. When Ganakas' time as coach was up he didn't want his replacement Jud Heathcote to fail, making Ganakas look good. Instead Ganakas, continued to support his team and encouraged Earvin "Magic" Johnson to come to MSU.
“Spartan Basketball has lost a dear friend today," Izzo said. "Gus was one of the most selfless and positive people that I’ve ever been around. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Ganakas family as they grieve their loss."
Ganakas, an MSU alumnus became an assistant men’s basketball coach in 1966, taking over as head coach after three years. He left his mark on Spartan basketball history with a 17-9 overall record for the 1974-75 season. This was the second-highest victory total at the time, according to the release.
After his time as head coach, Ganakas remained heavily involved in Spartan athletics. He served as an assistant athletic director from 1976-98 and organizing the 1989 MSU Basketball Centennial Celebration.
Ganakas was an aide for Izzo from 1998-2000. In the release Izzo said Ganakas helped foster a family atmosphere in MSU basketball, crediting Ganakas with any coaching success he has had.
“We will all miss Gus … his smile and his sense of humor. He’s been a bright light to my entire family, from both my parents to my wife Lupe and children Raquel and Steven," Izzo said. "But his impact on the entire Spartan family will continue to live on. And if there are ever tough times in heaven, they now have the perfect guy to make everyone feel just a little bit better.”