How many athletic directors would do this?
Many head coaches have the full support of their athletic directors, but we can bet that many coaches wish they had the type of support Mark Dantonio just got at Michigan State.
Spartan Stadium is about to undergo an $18 million expansion project, highlighted by a new, state-of-the-art welcome center to host recruits for all Spartan sports. In an impressive gesture of support of the efforts, MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis personally donated $1 million towards the upcoming renovations. “It sends a pretty good signal that we love this place” he said.
A native of Michigan, Hollis graduated from Michigan State in 1985, serving as a team manager for the basketball team as a student, and has been working in the athletic department since 1995. Hollis became AD in 2008 and recently signed a new contract which could be worth up to $750,000 per year. A Spartan for life, he felt this was the least he could do.
“It’s a message of what should be done,” Hollis said. “Is it easier to walk in a room? I met with an advisory board, which is made up of a group of donors. When I spoke to them about it, I was extremely emotional. I kicked the staff out. One of the members thought I was announcing my resignation as I started to break down. It’s an emotional process to think what impact you want to have on your alma mater.”
Before becoming AD, Hollis played a major role in the hiring of current head coach Mark Dantonio, who is 65-40 since taking over in East Lansing, highlighted by back-to-back 11 win seasons, the first time that feat has ever been accomplished at MSU. Now he is supporting his head coach and his staff in the most selfless way possible, by helping finance a facility that will directly impact their recruiting efforts.
"It’s a component that most of the competition has in place already," Hollis said of the new facility. "Postgame, it’s like jam yourself in the locker room, maybe high-five a player and a coach, and then leave. This gives them an opportunity to engage. Recruits at halftime can come in from all sports and talk with each other”.
Mark Hollis put his money where his mouth and his heart are, and the biggest winners will be the coaches at Michigan State.