Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Michigan State's Alan Haller earns Athletic Director position from strong ties to MSU Athletics

September 1, 2021
<p>The Breslin Student Events Center photographed on Aug. 23, 2019. </p>

The Breslin Student Events Center photographed on Aug. 23, 2019.

Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Alan Haller was announced as Michigan State’s new athletic director at today’s Board of Trustees meeting after former athletic director Bill Beekman pledged to step down on Aug. 5 and move back to university administration.

Haller has been the deputy athletic director since 2017 and has worked in the MSU athletic department since 2010 before the promotion.

“Alan has been a leader in developing athlete administrators and broadening the depth and breadth of our diverse talent within MSU Athletics,” President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said. “His professional accomplishments, integrity and leadership make him the best choice to move our programs forward during a constantly evolving college athletics landscape. And his understanding and perspective as a former student-athlete will benefit Spartan athletes for generations.”

Stanley led the search process and said that he received input from the Board of Trustees as well as members of the MSU community and the state government during the decision-making process. The university also used a search firm, Collegiate Sports Associates, or CSA, to help come to a decision. 

Haller’s strong connections with the football team as the sport administrator and other members of the athletic department helped play a role in the decision, Stanley said in the press availability following the announcement. Haller was involved in the hiring of Michigan State Head Coach Mel Tucker and the athletic department’s Chief Diversity Officer Ashley Baker.

According to Haller's contract, he will earn a base salary of $800,000 a year for five years with a "supplemental compensation payment" of $100,000 at the conclusion of each year he serves as athletic director. Haller can also earn a plethora of bonuses based on accomplishments within the athletic program.

“Alan has tremendous leadership qualities and has had a way of bringing people together over the years,” Tucker said in a statement. “He has the vision and progressive mindset that I admire in a leader. The Spartan family is strong and ready to build a solid foundation toward a better future."

The support for Haller extends throughout the coaching ranks at MSU, with many coaches providing support for Haller through statements. 

“Alan Haller is a Spartan through and through and I am thrilled that he has been selected as the Athletic Director at Michigan State,” basketball coach Tom Izzo said in a release. “I've known Alan since he played for George Perles, followed his pro career and worked with him when he was a police officer. His leadership and the class in which he handles himself always impressed me. He has served Michigan State Athletics in a variety of roles and has a great understanding of who we are and what we need as we move forward to shape our department and to keep us at the forefront of college athletics.”

Stanley said that Haller did not pitch himself for the job and that they had a “great” conversation about MSU athletics in the current college athletics landscape.

"I think within that conversation, it was wide-ranging, we talked about what's happening currently in college athletics, how Michigan State should be working with this,” Stanley said. “We talked about the fact that we want to make sure our revenue sports are adequately supported, but at the same time, we want to make sure our Olympic sports are supported as well. And that's something that really stood out to me in the conversations we had.”

Haller said his time at Michigan State as a student and football player has impacted every decision he has made since and pushed him to talking with Stanley about the position. 

“Being a student-athlete at Michigan State was a transformational experience in my life,” Haller said. "My time as a member of the Spartan football and track and field teams laid the groundwork for everything that’s followed. To this day, with every major decision and event, I rely on the principles that were forged as a student-athlete. It’s my job to make sure our current and future student-athletes experience the same transformation, reaching their highest potential both academically and athletically.”

Haller will being dealing with a fair share of controversy when his tenure as athletic director begins, specifically with the swimming and diving program.

Stanley said the swim and dive program would not be reinstated under Haller and the issue would remained closed.

“Swimming and diving has been discontinued as a sport and there won't be a team this year,” Stanley said. “I have not had any discussions with our new athletic director Alan Haller about that, but I think that's a closed issue as far as I'm concerned.”

In addition, MSU trustee Renee Knake Jefferson questioned the transparency of Haller's selection during the Board of Trustees meeting.

“From my view, this search process regardably lacked the openness and public transparency that I and others, including Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, called for in her role as chair of the Governor’s task force on women’s sports, ” Jefferson said. “As trustees, we have an obligation to expose practices that risk discriminatory or biased treatment, even when unintentional.” 

Stanley did not provide any further information about her concerns when asked.

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