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George Melvin "Jud" Heathcote is a former college basketball coach. He was a head coach for 24 seasons at the collegiate level: five at Montanamarker (1971-76) and 19 at Michigan Statemarker (1976-95).


He was born May 27, 1927 in Harvey, North Dakotamarker, to Marion Grant Heathcote and Fawn (Walsh) Heathcote. Two years after his father died in a diphtheria epidemic of 1930, he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Manchester, Washingtonmarker, where he lived the entire time he grew up.

Coaching career

The stint at Montana was the first for Jud as head coach of a college varsity program. Previously, he had coached at West Valley High School in Spokanemarker for 14 seasons, and at Washington Statemarker for seven years, five seasons as freshman coach and two seasons as frosh-varsity coach.

In the 1974-75 season at Montana, he led them to their first Big Sky championship. The Grizzlies advanced to the NCAA regionals, losing to eventual tournament champion UCLAmarker. Heathcote then moved to Michigan State in 1976 to begin the most successful phase of his coaching career.

In his third season at Michigan State, Heathcote guided the Spartans to the 1979 NCAA Championship. The Spartans, led by Magic Johnson, defeated the Larry Bird-led Indiana Statemarker Sycamores in the title game.

In his 19 years at Michigan State, the Spartans made nine NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship tournaments and three NIT appearances. As a coach, Heathcote was particularly noted for his excellent defensive strategies on the court and was second to none in blocking the opposing team from penetrating to the hoop.

His career record was 418-275 for a .603 winning percentage.


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