By 127th Wing Public Affairs
10/17/2011 - SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- Michigan State University men's basketball coach Tom Izzo spent a day at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in early October, as part of his preparation for the upcoming college basketball season.
Michigan State, a frequent visitor to the later rounds of the annual college basketball playoffs known as March Madness, will open the season on Veteran's Day in a game played aboard an U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson.
Izzo routinely uses a special theme to open the basketball season during the team's first practice, which is known as "Midnight Madness," as the team begins practice at midnight at the first minute allowable under collegiate rules. This year, Izzo entered the stadium in a USAF flight suit, riding aboard a miniature F-16 provided by the 339th USAF Recruiting Squadron, which serves the Michigan region. The mini-F-16, about the size of a large go-kart, is often used in parades and other promotional events. Prior to his entry to the stadium at MSU, which was filled with several thousand fans and some of which was broadcast on ESPN and elsewhere, Izzo was featured in a video, suiting up in flight gear and interacting with Selfridge Airmen around an A-10 aircraft.
During his visit to Selfridge, Izzo donned a specially outfitted flight suit, which featured Spartan logos in the place of rank on the suit. After talking with pilots and enlisted personnel at the 107th Fighter Squadron, Izzo talked with maintenance personnel at an aircraft and then sat in an A-10 as he was given an orientation of the capabilities of the A-10.
On Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, Michigan State will open the season against another college basketball powerhouse, the University of North Carolina, in a game played outdoors on the flight deck of the Carl Vinson, which will be tied up at a base in San Diego. President Obama plans to attend the game.
Michigan State University men's basketball coach Tom Izzo stands in front of an A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Mich. Oct. 6, 2011. MSU's basketball team opened the season with a military theme during the annual "Midnight Madness" session, which marked the first time the team could begin official practices for the season. During the Oct. 14 event at MSU, Izzo entered the school's Breslin Center basketball arena decked out in flight gear and riding in a small miniature F-16, provided by the 339th USAF Recruiting Squadron. During his trip to Selfridge, Izzo met with local Airmen and was given an orientation of the capabilities of the A-10, which is flown by the Michigan Air National Guard at Selfridge. (U.S. Air Force photo by John S. Swanson) Hi-res