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As March Madness comes to a close, there are lots of interesting stories involving leadership – of both coaches and players. The one constant, in terms of success, for more than a decade has been Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo. Coach Izzo’s teams reached the Final Four in six of the last twelve years. This season’s team is perhaps the clearest indication of what Izzo’s leadership means in terms of success. With key players out, Izzo patched together a lineup and inspired his team to Indianapolis. NOTE: the second article referenced can be used to spark discussion on top executive compensation and just how critical the leader at the top is to the overall success of an organization.


  1. Is Coach Tom Izzo a visionary leader? If yes, then why? If not, what other leadership style might be used to describe him?
  2. It is clear from the article that Coach Izzo’s players admire him. What are some of the characteristics indicated that generate this admiration? What do you believe is the source of these characteristics (i.e., are they things Izzo carried with him most of his life or did he develop them throughout his coaching experience)?
  3. In what ways does Izzo embody Peter Drucker’s “old-fashioned” leadership?

SOURCE: M. Lopresti, “Izzo’s Methodical Madness Gives Michigan State a Tourney Advantage,” USA Today (Retrievable online at

See also J. Upton, J. Gillum, & S. Berkowitz, “Rising Salaries of Coaches Force Colleges to Seek Budget Patch,” USA Today (Retrievable online at

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