Statement From Mark Hollis
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State University is a great institution, and its greatest strengths are the people who call themselves Spartans. Many, if not all, of those Spartans are hurting, especially the courageous survivors of Larry Nassar’s abuse. My heart breaks thinking about the incomprehensible pain all of them and their families have experienced. Along with many, I was brought to tears as I listened to their statements. There simply aren’t the right words to express our sympathy.
Our campus, and beyond, has been attacked by evil, an individual who broke trust and so much more. As a campus community, we must do everything we can to ensure this never happens again; to make sure any sexual assault never occurs. But to do so, we must listen and learn lessons. Only then can we truly begin the process of healing. I have tried to do this since first learning about the abuse in September 2016.
At the beginning of my tenure as Athletic Director, I established a mission statement – one with the student-athlete at its core. Our first priority has always been their health and safety. That focus, along with our core values, has guided our department each and every day. Values such as respect, accountability, and perhaps most importantly integrity, have served as a foundation through good times and bad – perhaps at no time more than the last few days.
I spoke to my administrative staff, coaches, student-athletes, and most importantly, my wife Nancy and my children, over the course of the past week. They are all incredible people, amazing Spartans. I have always been a Spartan, and always will be. It’s been an absolute honor to guide the Athletic Department for the last decade. That being said, today I am announcing my retirement.
This was not an easy decision for my family, and you should not jump to any conclusions based on our decision – listen to facts. I am not running away from anything, I am running toward something. Comfort, compassion and understanding for the survivors and our community; togetherness, time and love for my family.
Much attention has recently been given to outside investigations into the University and the Athletic Department, including those both by the Michigan Attorney General and the NCAA. Let me be clear, that in retirement, I will fully cooperate with these and any other investigations. As a University, we must focus on the healing of the survivors and the entire community.