Interim President John Engler
Well good morning everyone and welcome to a very important day in the history of Michigan State Athletics. I want to begin by saying thanks for joining us, for the worst kept secret, but at a University no secrets are kept so here we are to make an important announcement. I want to start by noticing that in the crowd we have our provost June Youatt here, and also our Executive Vice President for Government and External Relations, Dr. Kathy Wilbur is here as well. The leadership of our University the Board of Trustees are here, and Trustee (Brian) Breslin, the Chairmen of our Board will make those introductions when he follows me to the podium. We have a number of our coaches that are here from both our men’s and women’s programs. Let me just start by saying a Division I Athletic Director in 2018 is an individual with a lot of responsibility, recruiting, motivating, retaining a strong team of coaches and administrators. Certainly, so they can deliver high-performance results while fostering a balanced approach to sports and academics. The AD, especially in this day and age, is also responsible for ensuring compliance of all the University, the Big Ten, the NCAA and Title IX rules policies and procedures. There are many of those. At MSU, our athletic director’s responsibilities also include $133 million operating budget, approximately 240 employees and they are involved in everything from facilities management, marketing, promotions, sponsorship vendor relations, ticket sales, special events and no doubt, much, much more than I am not mentioning.
Since February 5, Bill Beekman has served as Interim Athletic Director at Michigan State. When I first appointed Bill, I said that I had confidence that he would provide very capable leadership. Well, Bill has done that and much, much more. I have spoken with our coaches, many of the coaches are here today, and I have consulted extensively without trustees about the search for a permanent AD. You’ll remember that I talked about the national search and I said that we would not go internal in the athletic department and that was part of the thinking when Bill was actually named. Well, as we started talking about the search, I kept hearing from virtually everyone that they loved the job that Bill was doing. The job that he was doing in the five and a half months on the job as interim athletic director and the descriptions were marvelous. Bill was described first and foremost as a person with great integrity, very attentive, a terrific listener and someone who really knows the University. I had several people remark that Bill was a calming influence. Well, I didn’t know Bill so well before coming to the University in February. I have to say I am among the many who have been very impressed by Bill, his understanding of our University, his knowledge about our community. He possesses an impressive range of experiences on many levels. First and foremost, he is an MSU graduate in the James Madison College. He has a law degree from Wayne State University, and he has a master’s degree, an MBA, from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University. He has taught at the community college and University level, he has taught in our College of Medicine and the College of Law. He has experience as VP for Finance and Operations. He has experience in the Office of the Provost. He served as Executive Director of the MSU Alumni Association, and most recently as the Vice President and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.
What is notable is that time after time, Bill’s performance in these various roles have earned him promotions, a request to take on even great responsibility. And so today, I am once again asking Bill to take on a greater role. I have asked Bill Beekman to accept the appointment as Vice President and Director of Athletics at Michigan State University, and I do this will the full concurrence of our Board of Trustees, the varsity coaches and University leadership. In a moment, you are going to hear from a few of these individuals, but I want to wrap up by saying that Bill is going to take on this new position with the enthusiastic support of Spartan Nation. In the last two days, I thought that maybe before the announcement was made public I’d be having the chance to be able to talk to some of our supporters around the country who have familiarity with some of our programs, but I have done that even with the announcement out there and the speculation. The response again has been overwhelming. So I am pretty confident that Bill Beekman with his integrity, his leadership, his dedication to excellence, will bring success and honor to MSU Athletics. Importantly, I believe that his commitment and respect for our student-athletes will serve them well on the field or in the classroom, and certainly will serve them well when they graduate and join our 500,000 alumni across the world. They will know that they have been strongly supported by an athletic director, who cares deeply about higher education and about them as individuals. So, I congratulate Bill and am delighted in him accepting this challenge.
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