There were rumors that Eminem was coming to Spokane for the Gonzaga-Michigan State game, but I don’t think there were any sightings of the Michigan rapper, at least none that I could find. Maybe he showed up in disguise? Eminem’s a big MSU fan.
Port Orchard native and Spokane resident Jud Heathcote was there. Heathcote was recognized before Saturday’s game. I’ve lifted this from Howie Stalwick’s game report:
Jud Heathcote, the South Kitsap High School graduate who guided Michigan State (and Magic Johnson) to the 1979 NCAA championship, was honored prior to the game. Heathcote retired at MSU in 1995 and moved to Spokane, where he coached at West Valley High School for 14 years early in his career.
Heathcote is a Gonzaga season-ticket holder and a good friend of Bulldogs coach Mark Few, but he pledged his support to the Spartans on this night. Izzo, another good friend of Heathcote, has coached the Spartans since being promoted from assistant coach when Heathcote retired.
Heathcote has served as a mentor to Izzo and Few. Always entertaining, the 84-year-old Heathcote had a quick response when a reporter asked about similarities between Izzo and Few.
“They’re both short,” Heathcote cracked.
Heathcote received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd before the game and Few and Izzo presented him with an autographed basketball.
“That (ovation) was awesome,” Izzo said. “That brought tears to my eyes. He’s been such a good guy and he’s so important to me.”
The last time I talked to Jud was prior to the 2009 Final Four. It was the 30th anniversary of the Magic-Bird game. Jud was as glib as ever. Here’s that story.