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Bill Beekman officially announced as MSU's athletic director

July 16, 2018
Interim President John Engler, left, and interim athletic director Bill Beekman interact before the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 16, 2018 at the Hannah Administration Building. (Nic Antaya | The State News)
Interim President John Engler, left, and interim athletic director Bill Beekman interact before the Board of Trustees meeting on Feb. 16, 2018 at the Hannah Administration Building. (Nic Antaya | The State News) —

It was officially announced at a press conference on Monday that Bill Beekman will be MSU's permanent athletic director.

Just days after the Detroit Free Press published a report detailing that Beekman was to be named the permanent director of MSU Athletics, Interim President John Engler officially confirmed the appointment at the press conference.

Engler began the press conference by saying that the university was to announce its "worst-kept secret."

"Today, I'm once again asking Bill to take on a greater role," Engler said. "I've asked Bill Beekman to accept the appointment of vice president and director of athletics at Michigan State University."

Engler said that there was unanimous support for the appointment of Beekman as the permanent athletic director from the MSU Board of Trustees, the varsity coaches and university leadership.

"Bill, he's going to take on this new position with the enthusiastic support of Spartan Nation," Engler said. 

Engler later said Beekman's endorsement is "the kind of endorsement I wish I could have" in light of several calls for his termination as interim president. 

Engler also said that the reason why the university did not do a national search for an athletic director, and instead decided to pick an internal candidate, was because he thought that Beekman possessed the leadership qualities required to take on the position.

"We ended up not needing to do a national search," Engler said.

Men's basketball head coach Tom Izzo, men's football head coach Mark Dantonio and women's basketball head coach Suzy Merchant also spoke at the press conference to announce their support for Beekman's appointment.

"As things unfolded this spring, you know, leadership was sort of thrust upon Bill Beekman in a rather probably unusual way," Dantonio said. "I really think and believe, though, that leadership really takes its place in many different forms. He's had a unifying force, really, for our entire athletic department since coming on."

Dantonio and Izzo both mentioned that they have found Beekman to be a good listener.

Beekman himself spoke at the conference, detailing his experience at the university and what he plans to do as the permanent athletic director. He said that he wants to ensure "a culture committed to the health, safety and wellness of every member of our community."

“Leading the proud tradition of Spartan athletics is a great honor,” Beekman said in the press release. “Since I stepped in as interim athletic director, my focus has been the health, safety and education of our student athletes. My job, and the job of our department, is to give them the tools and support they need to be successful on the field, successful in the classroom and, most importantly, successful in life after they leave MSU. Spartan athletics has a championship history, and we will continue to chase those championship dreams, doing so with integrity and always striving to improve in every area.” 

Beekman was appointed by Interim President John Engler as interim athletic director on Feb. 5, 2018. 

His appointment came after Mark Hollis left the position on Jan. 26, 2018 in light of scrutiny against MSU Athletics regarding ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's sexual abuse.

According to a press release, Beekman will be responsible for oversight of MSU’s 25 varsity sports teams and the care of more than 800 Spartan student athletes. 

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"The position provides leadership in the areas of sports management, game operations, financial administration, personnel, fundraising, corporate interaction, facility management, marketing and communication," the press release said. 

Another release sent out after the press conference Monday announced that the MSU Board of Trustees will hold a "meeting outside of their regular schedule to consider the appointment of Bill Beekman as athletic director" at 9 a.m. tomorrow in the Hannah Administration building.


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