Meet a Mom: Lupe Izzo, Michigan State University - Greater Lansing Area Moms

It is Meet a Mom Monday and we are excited to introduce Lupe Izzo! Lupe is a lifelong East Lansing resident who is a very involved community member and wife to Michigan State University head basketball coach, Tom Izzo. 

Family first has always been Lupe’s way.  She and Tom have raised two beautiful and successful children, Raquel and Steven.  Their children are now grown and she has more time which leads us to where Lupe now spends much of it –  The Izzo Legacy Family Fund.

What is the Izzo Legacy Family Fund?  It is a fund that has been created to honor the impact and legacy of Tom Izzo while celebrating hard work, Spartans, family, community and charitable giving. The Izzo Legacy Family Fund benefits an ever growing list of Greater Lansing based charities selected by the Izzo family.  

This weekend is the Izzo Legacy Family Fund’s largest fundraising event, The Izzo Legacy Run/Walk/Roll.   There is still time to sign up for this fun, family event! See below for more information.

Read all about the Izzo family, the Izzo Legacy Family Fund and hear the story of how Lupe and Tom met.

Welcome to Greater Lansing Area Moms, Lupe! And Go Green!

Hi Lupe! Please introduce yourself-
Hi I’m Lupe Izzo. I’m a Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister to 7 brothers and 3 sisters, an Aunt/Godmother to many, mother figure to my basketball family and a loyal Community activist.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Texas, but I’m a lifelong resident of East Lansing.

We love a good love story! How did you and Tom meet?

I met Tom through my sister in law who was working at the basketball office and secretary to Jud Heathcote. She invited me to Tom’s house after a big game to celebrate, I didn’t know I was there to meet him at the time. Tom also had his girlfriend there. I knew this because a friend of mine that was there told me. The next day he called, I asked him if he had a girlfriend, he said he did have someone he was dating. I told him not to call me again unless he didn’t have a girlfriend and hung up on him. He called me back shortly after that. I was 35 when I met him, I had been running a business for 25 years in Lansing where I had men salesmen plus 7 brothers! I didn’t have time to play games with him. It wasn’t love at first site but throughout the years we have grown so much together and have a strong marriage.

You’re a mom! Please tell us about your children and their ages. What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
I have two children, my daughter Raquel 27 and Son Steven 21. They are my firsts and everything!

Raquel is a graduate from Michigan State University she works at Skin Boss Med Spa in Haslett. She is also the Executive Director of The Izzo Legacy Family Fund. She recently got married during Covid which was not easy. She was not able to have the wedding celebration she wanted, but was still able to get married to Matthew McDonald, a childhood friend who she reconnected with in college. He’s the best friend and husband I could have asked for, for Rocky. We are so proud 🙂

Steven is 21 and a junior at Michigan State and he is on the basketball team. He has a busy schedule of being a student athlete and has worked hard to achieve high honors on the team. We are so proud of him!

Steven Izzo, Lupe Izzo, Matthew McDonald, Rocky Izzo McDonald and Tom Izzo

We are so excited for one of the biggest fundraisers for the Greater Lansing area and races of the year – The Izzo Legacy 5K Run/Walk/Roll! Can you tell us how this event came to be?
The Izzo Legacy 5K Run/Walk/Roll was created to unite the Lansing and MSU Community after such a big hardship our community had to face during the Nassar abuse. We lost our leadership at Michigan State and our community was ravaged by a lot of false information about our whole community nationally and internationally. I was proud of how our university stepped-up and tried to help heal the survivors and make financial amends to them for their suffering. It hit our family very hard as we were personally attacked. This was a way to stand up and heal ourselves as a family and a community to keep living a positive and meaningful life by giving back to the community that has given so much to us. We also knew that someday in the future we have to leave our position at MSU this way we could connect with our community as well as giving back into the future while supporting local charities. Our motto is Serving the Community side by side.

What are you looking forward to most with the Izzo 5k run/walk/roll?
The Izzo 5K will provide financial help to local charities, these 501C3 Charity Partners need our community support if we as a community are to be strong. I look forward to people embracing this as a fun family event, as well as a bona fide race. This year our new course will take us through the City of East Lansing as well as Campus so we are really looking forward to that, as well as making the course more user friendly to the rollers that will be participating!

What are a few of your favorite restaurants and shops in Greater Lansing?
I do try to support our local merchants and restaurants as much as possible. Fiesta Charra, Thai Princess, Hall of Fame Cafe just to name a few. I also love everything in Eastwood.

Do you have any words of wisdom for new moms?
The one thing I tell new moms is that they will hear so much advice during their new mom journey. And to kindly listen to everyone and just take the advice that works for them.

Lupe and the Izzo dogs, Meeko & Bear

Your husband has a stressful & busy career! What advice do you offer families whose spouses have to travel often?
To try to enjoy that time for yourselves! Go out with friends, catch up on projects, go horseback riding, Go get a massage or a facial, take a long bath with a glass of prosecco! Then when they are back enjoy that time that you have together!

Now some FUN ones to get to know you better!

Can’t live without skincare or makeup products- My daughter started me at Skin Boss. I now have regular facials. I love my tinted moisturizer from ISDIN and I never leave the house without mascara and lipstick.

Favorite food to indulge onChicken Pad Thai

Favorite place to visit in the UPMarquette

Favorite place to get away-Grand Haven, MI

How many basketball games do you guess you have attended- Way too many to count since I started watching basketball before I even met Tom.

Carrier Classic 2011 photo credit: BTN

Most unique place you’ve been for a basketball game- In San Diego for the Carrier Classic in 2011 when we played North Carolina on an AirCraft Carrier.

Favorite day of the year for MSU Basketball- I have two: One is our reunion days when I get to see our old players, managers, and student secretaries. The other is Senior day! It’s a happy and sad day for me.

Last book you read- An industrial novel on early American life- One for the Black Bird by Olivia Hawker

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? That I love exotic cars!

What is your favorite thing to do when you need some “me time”? 
Spend time at our Lake House in Grand Haven on Lake Michigan.

Last one-Who is your biggest mentor in your life?
My parents, they were my first teachers. They taught me my faith and to love my community.

Thank you so much, Lupe! We loved learning more about you and the incredible Izzo family♥


Want to sign up for the Izzo Legacy 5k run/walk/roll this Saturday? There’s still time! Register HERE

Interested in volunteering at the Izzo Legacy 5k run/walk/stroll?  Sign up HERE




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