In Memoriam: Jud Heathcote

31 08 2017

Former MSU basketball coach George ”Jud” Melvin Heathcote passed away on August 28, 2017 in Spokane, Washington, at the age of 90.

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Jud Heathcote and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, 1980 [A005938]

Jud Heathcote born on May 27, 1927, in Harvey, N.D and later moved to Washington State.  He was a high school basketball coach for 14 years before being hired as an assistant coach at Washington State University (1964-1971).  In 1971 he became head coach at the University of Montana where he led the team to their first Big Sky Championship.  He was then hired by MSU in 1976 to rebuild the Spartan basketball team.  His most notable accomplishments were coaching Magic Johnson and winning MSU’s first NCAA title with Johnson in 1979.  Although Heathcote’s teams never won another championship, he did hold the record for the most wins of basketball coach at MSU at his retirement.  Heathcote was known for his no nonsense coaching style, intensity on the court, and great sense of humor. Heathcote retired from MSU in 1995.   He was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of fame September 2001 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Heathcote is survived by his wife Beverly, three children, and grandchildren.

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In March 1995, Jud Heathcote was honored at the Breslin Center following his last home game as coach of the MSU Spartans.  In his speech he stated ” I’d like to be remembered for two things, nothing great, just a good coach, and a good guy.”  [full video available at http://onthebanks.msu.edu/Object/1-4-16A2/juds-farewell-event-1995%5D

Rest in Peace, Coach Heathcote.

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