Thursday, March 12, 2009

Frances Cleaves Family Center

The Freep today had an interesting article about Idong Ibok and his relationship with the Izzo family. The article went on to discuss the general sense of family in the MSU program, and specifically how that sense of family directly contributed to the creation of the Frances Cleaves Family Center, dedicated last week.

And then afterward, the Izzos unveiled a mural honoring the late Frances Cleaves, the mother of Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves, on a wall outside of the Spartans' locker room. They officially renamed the players' lounge next to the locker room the Frances Cleaves Family Center.

The Izzos paid for the mural themselves. Frances Cleaves died in 2007 following a swimming pool accident. She was the glue of the "Flintstones" road show during those early championship seasons, organizing the bus rides to Madison, Wis., and Bloomington, Ind., for the players' families.

When the Spartans retired Mateen's No. 12 jersey two years ago, the "Izzone" student section at the Breslin Center gave Frances Cleaves a standing ovation.

This sense of family, and the tangible benefits it creates, can only help the program. Part of the recruiting process is selling the program to a prospect's family, and this shows MSU's commitment to family in a specific, brick and mortar way.

Other original Flintstones moms prominently featured are Dabora Smith (mother of Antonio Smith), Valerie Peterson (Morris Peterson) and Belle Bell (Charlie Bell). Current Flintstone Marquise Gray, a senior from Beecher, helped with the actual unveiling, pulling down the brown-paper covering.

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