Spartan coaches and staff members volunteer in the Greater Lansing area to support the community.
Michigan State's Mark Hollis and Oklahoma's Joe Castiglione share their professional experiences in each other's classrooms.
The third annual #B1GADGolf Challenge will be held on July 29 at Country Club of Lansing. Michigan State's Mark Hollis and Michigan's Dave Brandon have assembled their teams for a series of nine head-to-head matches using match play scoring.
"We gather and engage our community to teach, support and celebrate our student-athletes in their quest for excellence."
This is the vision Mark Hollis has for the Michigan State Athletics Department. A Michigan State graduate and veteran Spartan athletics administrator, Hollis assumed the role of MSU's 18th athletics director on Jan. 1, 2008, succeeding Ron Mason.
Hollis has more than 20 years of athletics administration experience, either at the school or conference level. His well-rounded background has led to his knowledge of all areas within an athletics department, including marketing, financial administration, television negotiations, fund-raising, game operations, facility management, personnel policy, corporate interaction, sports management and public relations.
A 1985 MSU graduate, Hollis returned to his alma mater in 1995. Since then, he has been a critical component of the athletic department executive management staff, helping guide the department through short- and long-range plans. In addition, Hollis is chair of the NCAA Division I Amateurism Cabinet, a member of the NCAA's Men's Basketball Issues Committee, and a member of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee.
Hollis is credited with developing some of college athletics' most innovative events. It was his vision that led to Michigan State playing North Carolina in November 2011 in the first basketball game to be played on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. In 2003, Hollis was the architect of the "BasketBowl," which established a then-world record crowd of 78,129 who witnessed the Michigan State-Kentucky game at Detroit's Ford Field. The concept, which involves placing the court in the center of a football stadium, has been used at the last five NCAA Final Fours. In 2001, Hollis helped mastermind the Michigan State-Michigan outdoor hockey game that attracted a then-world record crowd of 74,554 in Spartan Stadium.
Hollis' leadership and innovation has not gone unnoticed, as he was named the 2012 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. Since his official appointment as athletics director began in 2008, the Spartans have won 19 Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament), appeared in two Final Fours and five bowl games, and finished in the top 40 of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup four times. In addition, during Hollis' tenure as an administrator at MSU, the Spartans have appeared in 16 consecutive men's basketball NCAA Tournaments - the longest current streak among Big Ten schools and the third longest in the nation - and six Final Fours.
Michigan State had another successful year in 2012-13, ranking 30th in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup Standings, the second-highest showing under Hollis and the sixth best in department history. In the fall, the football team appeared in a school-record sixth consecutive in a bowl game with a win over TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, men's soccer won the Big Ten Tournament title, volleyball advanced to the Sweet 16, and the men's and women's cross country teams reached the NCAA Championships. Among the winter sports, the men's basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 for the 11th time in the past 16 years, the women's basketball team earned an NCAA Tournament bid for the fifth-straight season, and two Spartans earned national runner-up honors at the NCAA Track and Field Indoor Championships. The achievements continued in the spring, as men's tennis received its first-ever bid for the NCAA Championships, women's golf qualified for the NCAA Championships for the ninth time in the past 14 years, and women's track and field placed 18th at the NCAA Championships.
During Hollis' tenure, Michigan State student-athletes have excelled not only in competition, but in the classroom as well. For five consecutive semesters, Spartan student-athletes have posted better than a 3.0 cumulative GPA. The department had a record-breaking number of student-athletes (57) receive a spring semester GPA of 4.0 in 2013, and 350 student-athletes posted a cumulative GPA above 3.0. Additionally, 238 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors throughout the 2012-13 academic year, including 64 Big Ten Distinguished Scholars (min. 3.7 GPA). In the spring of 2012, the athletics department compiled the highest grade-point average in program history with a 3.0644.
Spartan athletic facilities have been upgraded at an unprecedented rate the past decade, and will only continue to improve under Hollis. More than $34 million has been committed in the past two years to projects at Spartan Stadium. Prior to the 2012 season, $10 million scoreboards, totaling 13,300-square-feet, were installed in the north and south end zones, giving MSU one of the top video board systems in the nation. In June 2013, the Michigan State Board of Trustees approved a $24.5 million project to the north end of Spartan Stadium that will feature a two-story, 50,000-square-foot addition as well as an entrance plaza, renovated gates, and additional restrooms and concessions. The building will include new locker rooms for teams, coaches and officials, a media center, and a recruiting lounge for all varsity sports. The project is scheduled to be completed in July 2014.
The Spartans moved into one of the nation's finest football facilities in August 2008, as a $15 million expansion and renovation project for the Duffy Daugherty Football Building was completed. MSU alumni Robert and Julie Skandalaris of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., donated $5 million as the lead gift for the facility expansion and upgrade. The Skandalaris Football Center includes team, staff and position meeting rooms, coaches' offices and a hall of history. In addition, an expanded weight room was finished in September 2008 that increased the facility in size from 9,000 to 16,500-square feet.
Also in 2008, the men's and women's soccer programs opened DeMartin Stadium, a state-of-the-art 2,500-seat facility that enables MSU to host conference and national tournaments. The baseball program played its inaugural season in McLane Baseball Stadium in 2009 following a $4 million donation to the 2,500-seat ballpark by former Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane Jr. In 2011, with the help of a $1 million gift by alumnus Ambassador Peter F. Secchia - the largest cash (outright) gift received by an MSU women's intercollegiate sports program - Secchia Stadium, a 1,100-seat facility located at Old College Field, opened for the softball program.
On the playing field in 2011-12, MSU won three Big Ten Championships (women's cross country, men's basketball and women's golf) and the football team won the 2011 Big Ten Legends Division title and played in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. The Spartans finished ranked No. 10 in the final USA TODAY Coaches Poll after tying the school single-season record with 11 wins, including a dramatic 33-30 triple-overtime victory over Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl. The men's basketball team captured a share of the conference regular-season championship, won the 2012 Big Ten Tournament title, and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. Overall, nine sports participated in their respective team NCAA Championships, while individuals competed in five more NCAA Championships. The Spartans finished 34th overall in the 2011-12 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings.
In 2010-11, Michigan State had a record-setting year, winning five Big Ten Championships - the most in department history. The football team won a school-record 11 games and claimed the program's seventh Big Ten Championship, the baseball team won its first Big Ten title since 1979, while the women's cross country, women's basketball and women's golf teams also won conference championships. In 2009-10, the men's basketball team advanced to the Final Four for the sixth time in the last 12 years and won its second-straight Big Ten regular-season title, and field hockey captured both the Big Ten regular-season and tournament championships.
One of Hollis' major goals upon becoming athletics director was accomplished in 2010 when he unveiled the new brand and identity program for the athletics department. All of Michigan State's uniforms now incorporate consistent use of colors, logos, lettering and numerals along with standardization for logos. The brand and identity program for Michigan State Athletics was a result of nearly a two-year collaborative effort between the athletics department and Nike that included input from university and athletic administration, coaches and student-athletes. Michigan State was also selected to participate in the 2011 Nike Football Pro Combat system of uniforms, which the Spartans wore during their victory over Michigan on Oct. 15.
In Hollis' first full season as athletics director in 2008-09, Michigan State enjoyed one of its most successful years of the decade with a 27th-place finish in the Directors' Cup, the best showing for the department since 2003 and the third highest in the department's history. Ten teams earned bids to their respective NCAA Championships, led by men's basketball, which reached the national title game against North Carolina while also winning the Big Ten regular-season championship.
Hollis was named athletics director-designate on Sept. 12, 2007, and teamed with Mason in the transition throughout the fall of 2007. Prior to his official appointment as athletics director, Hollis played a lead role in two significant head coaching searches during the 2006-07 year. He spearheaded the effort to hire Mark Dantonio as football coach, which has resulted in a school-record six consecutive bowl appearances for the program and a Big Ten Championship in 2010. He also provided major assistance in the hiring of women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant in the spring of 2007, who led the Spartans to the Sweet 16 in 2009 and has brought MSU to five-straight NCAA Tournaments. Hollis' first hire as athletics director arrived on July 2, 2008, when he tabbed Jake Boss Jr. to direct the Spartan baseball program; in just three seasons, Boss won a Big Ten title in 2011, the first for the program in 32 years, then followed in 2012 by guiding MSU to the NCAA Tournament.
On Oct. 13, 2005, Michigan State University and WJR - 760 AM announced a five-year agreement to carry Spartan football and men's basketball games, along with coaches' radio shows. The successful partnership led to the announcement on Jan. 19, 2010, of a 10-year extension through 2020. Hollis played a leading role in finding MSU athletics a home on the 50,000-watt Detroit radio station, known as the "Great Voice of the Great Lakes." The agreement has benefited more than just athletics as WJR regularly promotes the academic accomplishments of the university in addition to broadcasting sporting events.
Prior to returning to Michigan State, Hollis spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh as assistant and associate athletic director. Before his stint at Pitt, Hollis worked for the Western Athletic Conference. He joined the WAC as an administrative assistant immediately after college. Two years later, he was appointed assistant to the commissioner and soon thereafter was promoted to assistant commissioner.
Hollis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Michigan State in 1985, where he served as a basketball team manager under Jud Heathcote. In 1992, he earned his MBA in business administration from the University of Colorado.
He and his wife Nancy, have a daughter, Katy, and two sons, T.R. and Michael.