Izzo: “Don’t be afraid to show your emotions. We all process trauma in a very different way. I’m just glad we’re all here together.”
Two days after an on-campus shooting left three dead and five wounded, members of the Michigan State community met to console and uplift each other, with officials ranging from the interim school president Teresa K. Woodruff to the Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer addressing the large crowd. Men’s basketball coach Tom Izzo also gave a speech, urging people to lean on each other for support during this tragic time.
“I’m also a father of two Spartans of my own. I can’t begin to imagine what all of you are going through,” Izzo said. “But I do know that we, as a campus community, can offer our support, both to you and to each other. Look around. Look next to you. Shake somebody’s hand. Introduce yourself to somebody you don’t know. That’s who we are. That’s who we need to be at this time.”
The shooting occurred on Monday night when a gunman opened fire around 8:30 p.m. ET. The suspect was later found off campus after midnight, with officials saying he appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
In his address, Izzo referenced his reputation for being emotional while coaching on the sidelines, and encouraged everyone affected to not try to keep their feelings hidden.
“If any of you need help, please speak up. Be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid,” Izzo said. “It’s no secret that I do wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I’m not afraid. Our hearts are heavy, our loss has been great. Our lives have been permanently changed. But with a shared commitment to help each other, and a promise to remember those we have lost, we will learn to find joy once again.”
He closed his remarks with a call to action decrying gun violence, asking those in the audience to do what they could to invoke change.
“I think everybody spoke that something has to be done in our society. Gun violence is insane right now,” Izzo said. “We all have a platform—some are small, some are high—but we all have a platform. And I hope each and every one of you use your platform to help others, so other families don’t have to go through what these families are going through now.”