Jud Heathcote

Jud Heathcote (1927-2017)

Teams coached: Montana Grizzlies, Michigan State Spartans
Montana record: 80-53 (.602)
Michigan State record: 338-222 (.604)
Overall record: 418-275 (.603)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1976-1995 Michigan State
1971-1976 Montana
1964-1971 Washington State (asst)

Jud Heathcote Facts

  • George Melvin Heathcote
  • Born May 27, 1927
  • Died August 28, 2017
  • Hometown: Manchester, Washington
  • Alma Mater: Washington State University (1949)
  • Born in Harvey, North Dakota but raised with his mother and grandparents in Manchester, WA
    • Was a three-sport athlete at South Kitsap HS in Port Orchard, WA
    • Spent a year in the Navy after graduation before heading to Washington State when the war ended
  • Played for Jack Friel at Washington State and started coaching after graduation, spending 14 years at West Valley HS (WA)
  • First college job was at his alma mater, Washington State, as an assistant under Hall of Fame head coach Marv Harshman
  • Became a college head coach in 1971 when he took over the Montana Grizzlies’ program
    • Won 80 games in five seasons and reached one NCAA Tournament (1975)
  • Took the Michigan State head coaching job in 1976 and by his third season he had turned a 12-win team into a National Champion, led by future Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson
    • Won 339 games and reached nine NCAA Tournaments in 19 seasons as the Michigan State head coach before retiring in 1995 and turning the program over to his long-time assistant Tom Izzo
  • In his retirement, Heathcote lived in Spokane and was a regular fixture at Gonzaga Bulldogs home games; formed a close friendship with Gonzaga head coach Mark Few
  • Along with his wife, Beverly, had two daughters and one son

Jud Heathcote Coaching Tree