Athletic director pledges dedication to MSU in wake of Kearney departure
Sophomore guard Brandan Kearney dribbles the ball as Texas Southern’s guard Raymond Penn defends Nov. 18, 2012, at Breslin Center. The Spartans beat the Tigers 69-41. Natalie Kolb/The State News
Chandler, Ariz. – More than 250 Spartan fans packed into a pep rally waiting to be pumped up for the MSU football team’s Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl matchup with TCU on Saturday night only to fall silent when they got a speech about the departure of an MSU basketball player.
MSU Athletic Director Hollis opened his speech at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort Hotel by going into detail about the recent loss of the sophomore guard Brandan Kearney.
“We had an individual today on our men’s basketball program make a decision, and he will always be a Spartan and don’t get that wrong, but he made a decision that he no longer wants to play basketball at Michigan State University,” Hollis said. “It came as a surprise. But this kid will always be a Spartan. He’s going to go on and try and pursue something, somewhere else. His name’s Brandan Kearney for those of you that are asking.”
The crowd went from silence to a murmur of disbelief when they heard Kearney’s name.
MSU basketball head coach Tom Izzo announced Kearney’s departure to the media Friday. Kearney told his coach he wanted to leave the team in search of a bigger role with another program, Izzo said.
“It was a decision that he made,” Hollis said. “As we go through this process, whether you’re a supporter, an alumni, a ticket buyer, an athletic director, a student-athlete, a board member, a president, we will only be as good as the weakest link allows us to be.”
Hollis said his role as athletic director is to provide 800 student athletes “with the opportunity to excel in as much as they want to or as much as they choose to.”
He left the crowd with a promise that he would do his best to get the top result out of both MSU and the athletic department.
“My pledge to you is we’re going to give you 100 percent in 25 sports,” he said. “We’re going to achieve at the highest level, we’re going to take the resources that we have available to us and really get after it.”