Michigan State AD: Always thinking about a 'Plan B' if Tom Izzo, Mark Dantonio leave

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Rosemont, Ill. — Bill Beekman hopes he won’t have to dive into a coaching search anytime soon.

However, if the Michigan State athletic director gets an unexpected call that one of his high-profile coaches — Tom Izzo or Mark Dantonio — decided to move on, he says there is always a contingency plan.

“We don’t have sort of anything written down,” Beekman said this week at the Big Ten’s annual spring meetings. “But I think, from my perspective, you’re always sort of thinking about sort of the proverbial what if a key person sort of walked out of their office and got hit by the proverbial bus or whatever, and what’s your Plan B? And I think you’re always sort of thinking about that as seasons evolve and when you’re watching the national championship.”

Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman says he's always thinking about a "Plan B" if either football coach Mark Dantonio (left) or basketball coach Tom Izzo (right) leave.

It's been the big topic around the conference this week as Michigan’s Warde Manuel is now tasked with replacing John Beilein, who on Monday left the Wolverines to become the coach of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.

It’s the same sort of move Izzo has contemplated in the past, but one he’s never ultimately made. So, worrying about a replacement for the legendary coach hasn’t exactly been a top priority. But both Izzo and Dantonio are getting late in their careers and it could come up sooner rather than later.

“I hope Tom lasts longer than I do, but you never know, and you never know what personal circumstances bring or health issues or what have you,” Beekman said. “So I think you’re always in the back of your mind, if you’re a responsible AD, thinking about what would a Plan B, C, D be.

“You sort of always are thinking about these kinds of things and you hope you can keep the good people forever. I’m sure that (Manuel) would have liked to have kept John forever, but I’m also sure that he’s got a list of folks and I’m sure he’s working his list.”

No sale yet on beer, wine

Schools are always looking for a way to increase revenue and around the Big Ten, more institutions have decided to sell alcohol at football games.

Indiana, Illinois and Rutgers all have announced plans this year they will sell beer and wine at games, bringing the total number of conference schools doing so to seven.

There are no similar plans at Michigan State. Beekman cited a state law that prohibits the sale of alcohol at Spartan Stadium, though there are sales in the suites, because they are not physically connected to the stadium.

“At this point, it’s against state law to do it and I don’t see us advocating for a change in that,” Beekman said. “We do sell it in the suites and to a limited number of folks.”

If the laws do change, Beekman wasn’t ruling out a move, but wasn’t sure the first place to try it out would be Spartan Stadium.

“I think more and more of the conference is going there,” he said. “It’s becoming more common. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen in some venue at some point. I’m not sure our starting point would be football.”


Twitter: @mattcharboneau