– Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis has been named vice chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the upcoming 2015-16 season, and chair of the committee for the 2016-17 academic year. The NCAA made the announcement on Tuesday, July 21.
“I love college sports. Over the past 35 years, I have been afforded the opportunity to learn and collaborate with a diverse collection of individuals through sports on campus,” Hollis said. “Sharing the passion, integrity and dedication of the men and women serving on the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee, I look forward to continuing my commitment to the values of education and student-athletes. College athletics provides amazing opportunities for today’s students and value for our nation’s collective future. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is a platform that allows us to share with the world a small glimpse of those broad educational, leadership, teamwork and athletic opportunities available to 460,000 student-athletes annually.
“It is with great responsibility and humility that I serve on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee and I look forward to working with our Committee, 2016 Chairman Joe Castiglione, Dan Gavitt and the rest of the NCAA staff over the upcoming seasons.”
Hollis was a men’s basketball student manager under legendary coach Jud Heathcote until earning his undergraduate degree from Michigan State in 1985. He earned his Master’s degree from the University of Colorado in 1992 and spent time working at the University of Pittsburgh and at the Western Athletic Conference before returning to MSU in 1995. He was named athletics director designee in the fall of 2007 before moving into the role January 1, 2008.
During Hollis’ tenure at Michigan State, the Spartan men’s basketball team has appeared in 18 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, advancing to seven Final Fours and winning the National Championship under head coach Tom Izzo in 2000. Hollis has been the mastermind for such notable basketball events as the “BasketBowl,” a game played in 2003 between the Spartans and the University of Kentucky at Ford Field in Detroit that attracted a then-world record of 78,129 fans. The concept, which involved placing the basketball court in the center of a football stadium, has been used at the last seven NCAA Final Fours. He also orchestrated the first basketball game played on a flight deck of an aircraft carrier, which took place between MSU and the University of North Carolina in 2011.
Future events include a 16-team tournament with Nike-sponsored schools in Portland, Oregon, scheduled for November 2017 to celebrate Nike President Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, and a four-team round-robin men’s college basketball barnstorming tour in 2018, featuring Michigan State, Florida, North Carolina and Texas playing in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
“Mark has been an outstanding member of the committee for the past three years and while he is known for his creativity and innovation, he is also exceptional when it comes to studying the game and doing what is in the best interests of the participating teams,” said Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball. “Mark offers unique perspectives and takes into consideration how every decision made by the committee impacts coaches and student-athletes, as well as our fans and media partners.”
Additional Thoughts from Mark Hollis:
“In 1985, I was fortunate to be introduced to Arnie Ferrin from the University of Utah. At the time, Arnie was on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee and introduced me to the commitment, dedication and service required to be part of the Committee. I was proud of him when he was named Chairman of the Committee in 1988, the Tournament’s 50th Anniversary. Never, at the time, did I imagine that I would be in a position to be able to serve the NCAA membership, our student-athletes, coaches and college basketball fans in the same capacity.
“Like Arnie, there are others who have directly or indirectly molded my 35-year career in college athletics. More than anyone, my family is a constant reminder about what is important. My long-time friend and former roommate Tom Izzo, as well as others I had the pleasure of working with like Jud Heathcote, Lou Anna Simon and Joe Kearney, have pushed me, supported me and helped me grow. And then are those that led by example and allowed me to admire their leadership skills such as Loren Matthews and Billy Payne. As a Spartan, I continuously have the opportunity to listen and learn determination from Scott Skiles and Mateen Cleaves, collaboration from Steve Smith and Magic Johnson, and championship attitudes from Draymond Green and Johnny Green. There are countless people that have made a positive impact on my life.
Copyright 2015 Meredith Corp. All Rights Reserved.
“I look forward to continuing the great work of those that preceded me as we look to make the future even brighter for student-athletes that have the desire and passion to earn a college degree while competing in sports. While trying to learn something new every day, I am proud of what college sports delivers to those that have aspirations of improving their lives through education, collaboration and work ethic. While honored and excited to serve as Chairman in 2017, my pursuit of learning and sharing that positive experience will not expire in Phoenix.
“With a personal opportunity like this comes sacrifice for others. I appreciate the support of my family, President Simon and our University faculty and administration, and our coaches and athletic department staff for allowing me to put in the hours to serve the NCAA membership. A great amount of work in East Lansing must be assumed by others, and what is done and how they do it is not taken for granted.”