Mark Viele, the man behind the mop
When the MSU basketball team goes into the locker rooms for halftime at Breslin Center, that’s when the stage is set for 60-year-old Mark Viele and his mop.
It was more than 40 years ago that Viele, a native of Lansing, got a job at MSU as soon as he got out of high school, and for the better part of the last 20 years, Viele has worked for MSU Athletics, where he sets up and takes down the athletic venues for every MSU sport except hockey.
Viele is responsible for a large part of all the behind the scenes work of MSU Athletics, with the 5-to-10 minutes he spends sweeping Breslin Center's floor at halftimes of basketball games being the only time the man takes a step out from behind the curtain.
But for those 5-to-10 minutes, Viele might as well be a rockstar, at least in the eyes of the Izzone.
“Years ago, the students used to go say ‘Sweep, sweep, sweep’ and then you get down to the end and they’d go ‘Turn,’” Viele said. “But now they just clap. I never say anything to them. I nod at them. I make faces at them. Sometimes I will point at them. I don’t egg them on, but it’s getting pretty neat how they cheer for me. I don’t know why that is, but it’s fun.”