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MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis announces retirement

January 26, 2018
Athletic director Mark Hollis watches the team on the field April 25, 2015, during the Green and White Spring Game at Spartan Stadium. The White team defeated the Green team, 9-3.
Athletic director Mark Hollis watches the team on the field April 25, 2015, during the Green and White Spring Game at Spartan Stadium. The White team defeated the Green team, 9-3. —

Amid the sentencing and notoriety of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's scandal, MSU Athletic Director Mark Hollis announced his retirement Friday. His last day will be on Jan. 31.

MSU Athletic Communications announced a meeting for the media at 11 a.m. Friday. News of Hollis' retirement was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

"I'm not running away from anything, I'm running towards something," Hollis said in the press conference.

Though Hollis will not be involved with the university in any capacity past Jan. 31, he said he will fully cooperate with investigations currently being conducted by the Michigan Attorney General's Office or the NCAA, which both opened investigations this week into the university's handling of Nassar.

Hollis said he had no knowledge of the university's 2014 Title IX  investigation into Nassar. He also said he believes he never met Nassar.

"My heart breaks, my heart breaks thinking about the incomprehensible pain all of them and their families have experienced (caused by Nassar)," Hollis said. "Along with many I was brought to tears as I listen to statements. There simply aren’t the right words to express our sympathy. Our campus and beyond has been attacked by evil, an individual who broke trust and so much more. As a campus community, we must do everything we can to ensure that this never happens again to make sure that any sexual assault never occurs."

Many people from within the university told Hollis he should "not do this," but insisted it was the appropriate response for the survivors of Nassar's abuse.

"You get messages. I know this is the right time. I know it’s the right time to let people heal," Hollis said. "I feel good with every decision I made at the time I made it based on the information I had available to me." 

Hollis was athletic director for 10 years. He also spent five on the NCAA Men's Basketball Committee.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon resigned Wednesday evening. MSU athletic faculty representative Sue Carter announced earlier Wednesday.

Ex-MSU Gymnastics Coach Kathie Klages retired in February 2017, amid the Nassar scandal.

Hollis, along with men's basketball coach Tom Izzo and women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant received contract extensions from the university's Board of Trustees in June 2017. Hollis' contract was extended to 2022. The State News reported in 2016 his base salary was $688,000. 

"I don’t want anyone to perceive that I’m walking away," Hollis said. "I’m walking forward, I’m walking forward in a way that, based upon my deep assessment, gives the survivors, first and foremost, this athletic department, this university and my family, an opportunity to heal and step forward."

Editor's Note: This article was updated 12:50 p.m.

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