Michigan State’s Mark Hollis was very emotional talking about his Athletic Director of the Year award during a media briefing Thursday afternoon in his office at Jenison Fieldhouse.
“Athletic directors normally aren’t placed in that kind of position,” said the Spartans fourth-year athletic director. “It’s a position that you strive to put your student-athletes and your coaching staff and it was a bit surreal. It was an event that was much grander than I had envisioned. It went well beyond college sports.”
“I think of myself as a humble person,” Hollis continued, “and I hope that it comes across as that in everything that I do because I love this university and it was a surreal night for me because it’s not a position that I normally like to be in. That award last night is shared by lot of people. I’m keeping the Tiffany crystal trophy but everybody has a piece of that.”
Hollis invited Spartan head football and basketball coaches, Mark Dantonio and Tom Izzo, to come to New York with him to the event.
“There couldn’t be two other people I would rather have by my side at an event like that because I think without a question they’re the best combo in those two roles in the country,” Hollis said of Dantonio and Izzo. “They’re two very close friends and I think it’s important to keep a business relationship with them but also keep them as dear friends because you are in those battles together.”
On Hollis’ family letting him live his dream:
“I have three great kids and they had an opportunity to see New York City for the first time. Being in this business is a challenge with family life and… (hollis gets very emotional)… and it’s stressful. They get a lot of great opportunities but they also miss their dad and that kind of all came together last night. But I love this place, I love my family. To have them there was a thrill, to see the smile on my family’s face as we walked up, it was a blessing. All the good they get outweighs the frustration.”
Hollis went on to say that he has met with President Lou Anna K. Simon the past several months to discuss his future plans:
“I am very comfortable where the board of trustees and the president has me and I think we’ll be here for a long time based on that.”
Hollis talked about the college football playoff and how more emphasis should be put on the regular season and the student-athletes:
“If I could say anything it would be those 12 regular season games better be the most important thing that we think about in any decision that we make. The student-athletes want a bowl experience, they don’t want an NFL playoff experience.”
Hollis also talked briefly about the idea of playing basketball games overseas but first mentioned that winning Big Ten Championships, going to Rose Bowls, and playing in the NCAA Tournaments are more important to the Spartan athletic program.
“I do believe those special events bring attention to Michigan state. The Greece game is one possibility that we look at some point in time. We’re looking at the possibility of something in 13’ in Florida (on an aircraft carrier).”
Hollis was asked if he had an idea of who he would want to play on the aircraft carrier:
“Not yet… We haven’t played Notre Dame since 1979.”
On future sites for the Big Ten Baseball Tournament:
“There’s a place that I’d like to play the tournament but Im not going to talk about it today. I like to do what I think is the most unbelievable experience for a student-athlete. In the footprint of the Big Ten Conference, where is the most desirable place…”
A reporter chimed in “Wrigley Field!”
With the new scoreboards at Spartan Stadium and the planned renovation for Munn Ice Arena, what’s next?
“If you’re talking big projects, it’s going to be attacking Spartan Stadium,” Hollis said.