By BURT ANGELI
IRON MOUNTAIN - It truly is a small world.
Michigan State Coach Tom Izzo checks out a C-130 cargo plane cockpit with co-pilots Capt. Todd John Beales, left, and Scott Lichtwardt at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Capt. Beales attended Norway High School.
Iron Mountain's Tom Izzo and his Michigan State basketball team, a mere 4,000 miles from home, toured Germany with a pilot educated at Norway High School.
Izzo's Spartans took a ride on a C-130 cargo plane during last week's trip to Germany. Piloting the plane was Capt. Todd John Beales, who attended Norway High School in the late 1990s.
"Entirely coincidental," said co-pilot Capt. Beales, son of Karen and John Beales. "I'm excited to show the players what we do. I hope they got something out of it."
Izzo's Spartans and Connecticut opened the season Friday in the Armed Forces Classic at Ramstein Air Base's Hangar 5.
"How hard is that to believe?" Izzo, an Iron Mountain High School graduate, said of his Dickinson County pilot. "Thank God he did a good job of driving that plane."
Capt. Beales was elected vice president of the Norway student council when the family moved to Plymouth, Wis., near Sheboygan, for his senior year (1999-2000). He was on the Knights wrestling and tennis teams.
Capt. Beales, a member of the 37th Airlift Squadron, also attended the Air Force Academy. Scott Lichtwardt served as co-pilot of the C-130J Super Hercules.
"Bringing the game out here, I mean so many people stay up late and watch basketball games, football games," Lichtwardt said. "To bring them out here to Germany where a lot of Americans are as well, it's really cool to be a part of that and give these guys this experience out here."
UConn downed Michigan State in the season opener. The Spartans play Kansas at 6 (ESPN) tonight at Atlanta in the Champions Classic.
(Daily News staff writer Nikki Younk, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and mlive.com contributed to this story)