MSU Athletics Director honored for excellence in athletics administration.
MSU athletics director will be inducted into the NACMA Hall of Fame during the association's annual convention.
Since BTN's launch in 2007, Michigan State has won 26 Big Ten Championships, including 20 regular-season and six tournament titles.
Athletics looking to raise $262 million as part of campaign.
MSU tied a department record with six Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament) in 2013-14.
"We gather and engage our community to teach, support and celebrate our student-athletes in their quest for excellence."
This is the vision Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis has for Spartan Athletics. Hollis, who was named the 2012 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal/Daily, is in his seventh year leading the MSU Athletics Department. He officially assumed the role of MSU's 18th athletics director on Jan. 1, 2008, succeeding Ron Mason.
Hollis has more than 25 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.
Since his official appointment as athletics director began in 2008, the Spartans have won 25 Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament), appeared in two Final Fours and six bowl games, and finished in the top 40 of the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup five times. In addition, during Hollis' tenure as an administrator at MSU, the Spartans have appeared in 17 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.
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 six 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.
Future events Hollis designed include a 16-team men's college basketball tournament with Nike-sponsored schools in Portland, Oregon, in November 2017 to celebrate Nike President Phil Knight's 80th birthday, and a four-team, round-robin men's college basketball barnstorming tour in December 2018 featuring MSU, Florida, North Carolina and Texas in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Fueled by six Big Ten Championships (regular season and tournament), which tied the department record, Michigan State placed 29th in the 2013-14 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings, tied for the fourth best in department history and second highest under Hollis. Led by the Big Ten and Rose Bowl Championship football team, the Spartans closed the fall season at No. 2 in the Directors' Cup. MSU won a school-record 13 games, finished No. 3 in both national polls, defeated No. 5 Stanford in the 100th Rose Bowl Game, and topped No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. In addition to winning the Big Ten Tournament, field hockey advanced to the Elite Eight, along with men's soccer, and volleyball reached the regional round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. MSU maintained its excellence in women's cross country and women's golf, as both programs captured their third Big Ten title in four years. On the hardwood, men's basketball won its fourth Big Ten Tournament title and reached the Elite Eight for the eighth time in the past 16 years, while the women's team claimed its second Big Ten regular-season championship in four years and received its sixth consecutive NCAA bid.
During Hollis' tenure, Michigan State student-athletes have excelled not only in competition, but in the classroom as well. For seven consecutive semesters, Spartan student-athletes have posted better than a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average. Nearly 400 student-athletes (398) posted a cumulative GPA above 3.0 in the spring semester of 2014, marking the second-highest total in the history of the department, and 17 teams also reached that mark. Additionally, 268 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors throughout the 2013-14 academic year, including 59 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. The graduation success rate under Hollis is a remarkable 87 percent.
Spartan athletic facilities have been upgraded at an unprecedented rate the past decade - including more than $100 million at Spartan Stadium - and will only continue to improve under Hollis. A $24.5 million project to the north end of Spartan Stadium was completed in August 2014 that features a two-story, 50,000-square-foot addition as well as an entrance plaza, renovated gates, and additional restrooms and concessions. The building includes new locker rooms for teams, coaches and officials, a media center, and an engagement center for all varsity sports. Former All-America offensive lineman Flozell Adams provided a leadership gift of $1.5 million for MSU's new locker room, which is named in honor of his late mother, Rachel Adams. 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.
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, Michigan, 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 2012-13, Michigan State ranked 30th in the Directors' Cup standings. In the fall, the football team appeared in its sixth consecutive 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 placed a school-record ninth at the NCAA Championships, and women's track and field placed 18th at the NCAA Championships.
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 winning 11 games, 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 Directors' Cup standings.
Michigan State had a banner year in 2010-11, winning five Big Ten Championships. The football team won a then 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.
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 seven consecutive bowl appearances, two Big Ten Championships (2010, 2013) and a Rose Bowl Championship (2014). 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 six-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.