Michigan State University Athletic Director Alan Haller’s Introductory Press Conference

Michigan State University introduced its new athletic director Alan Haller at an event at MSU's Breslin Center on September 7, 2021.

President Stanley:

So, good afternoon everyone. I love the energy we have in this room right now. It's incredible. We've had a great past few weeks of welcoming students, faculty and staff back to campus. For our student athletes, how pleased I am to see them have the opportunity to be back with their teams and coaches preparing for an exciting year. We have plenty to be excited about.

The Haller era has begun with a bang. It's true. Our athletic teams have had great starts, highlighted by football opening the regular season of Big Ten play with a very, very impressive 38-21 win at Northwestern on Friday night. But the news gets better. That was just one of several wins by our Spartan teams over the weekend. Field hockey, women's cross country, volleyball, men's soccer and men's golf all posted victories. Congratulations. Our fall sports teams have combined to post a 14 two-and-two record so far. We're very proud of all they’re accomplishing, both on and off their competitive fields of play.
 
I'd like to recognize our Board of Trustees members who are here today. I know trustee Byrum will introduce them to you in a second, but please join me in acknowledging them. I also want to give my sincere thanks to Big Ten Commissioner, Kevin Warren, for joining us and for his partnership and leadership of our conference. Kevin Warren, thank you. Thank you, Commissioner. And certainly to members of the search advisory committee who gave their time and effort to assist the university with this search. I'm so very grateful to you for your involvement and passion about MSU Athletics. Some of them are here today. I'd like to acknowledge them. Trustee Renee Knake Jefferson, Coach Mark Dantonio, Lauren H. Grant, there she is, Brooke Bogan. I'm not sure they're here today, but if you are please signal to me, Craig Brown. We can applaud anyway. Gene Washington, Steve Smith, Bob Skandalaris and Board of Trustee member Kelly Tebay.
 
As I mentioned last week at our special board meeting, I felt it was important that we conduct a national search for our next athletic director, to look at all options and find the best fit for our current needs and future opportunities. The process worked the way it should. It led us to the best and new leader for our athletics department. I'm pleased. Our selection is already a Spartan, already a part of our community. The values that Alan Haller lives, integrity, compassion, empathy, and a steadfast commitment to public service makes him a natural leader.
 
I have confidence that a strong dedication to the department, its students and our community are essential characteristics to position us well for the future. You're going to hear these words to describe Alan many times today, and I'm very proud of that. I'm proud that we have a strong leader to continue our commitment to student success, to all students' wellbeing and to growing into the best version of themselves. Again, as I said last week, Alan understands that our athletes are students first and we will not lose sight of that priority.
 
His perspective as a former athlete is important and his background as a police officer and in public service, these experiences have shaped him as a leader and influenced the vision he has for moving MSU Athletics forward now. Alan also understands the financial and operational aspects of leading a Division I athletics department with 21 sports programs and more than a thousand athletes and staff, as well as hundreds and thousands, dare I say, millions of fans and supporters and donors throughout the globe. I'm excited to already have started working with Alan on his plans for keeping MSU at the forefront of college athletics. Let's face it. It's a challenging space right now, but I have confidence Alan can handle those challenges. I appreciate the board support throughout our search process. Last week, we had a unanimous vote of the board for Alan as our next AD. Thank you all for supporting this important process. Thank you.
 
We're going to hear from some outstanding coaches today. I appreciate that we have so many here to celebrate this new era. Our coaches and their staff are critical to our student success in providing the types of support needed to help all of our athletes excel. Before I introduce our next speaker, I'd also like to recognize Bill Beekman and thank him for his leadership these past three years. We're grateful for the role he's stepped into and we look forward to having him back in our central administrative team, helping with our strategic planning implementation. Now I'd like to introduce the chair of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, the honorable Dianne Byrum.

Dianne Byrum:

Thank you, President Stanley. I'd like to start by recognizing my colleagues on the MSU Board of Trustees. Would you please stand so we could recognize you, Trustee Melanie Foster, Trustee Renee Knake Jefferson. On behalf of the MSU Board of Trustees, I want to congratulate you, Alan, on your new role as athletic director. We are excited to see how you will continue to move MSU Athletics forward. I want to thank President Stanley and members of the search committee for successfully leading a national search process and landing us a qualified leader for the 20th athletic director for Michigan State University and for keeping the board informed along the way.
 
As many of you know, Alan is no stranger to the Spartan family or the greater Lansing community. A former two sport MSU student athlete himself, Alan understands and can relate to student athletes and the student athletic experience. It is that transformational experience that will help him succeed in this new role. As I shared last week, Alan is a remarkable leader and well-rounded administrator who has been so very instrumental in positioning MSU Athletics for continued success. He is a leader steadfastly committed to the success of MSU and our student athletes. I have full confidence that he will continue to move our department forward with a vision that focuses on student success, competitive excellence, and integrity in all things we do.
 
I believe I speak for us all on the Board of Trustees when I say we are so excited to see what is in store for MSU Athletics under your leadership. Alan, congratulations again. It is now my great pleasure to introduce Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren.

Kevin Warren:

It truly is a pleasure to be here today. I'd like to thank my wife, Greta, who made the trip from Chicago here with us today to honor Alan and your family and Michigan State University. Today's special. When I was thinking this morning what would be appropriate to discuss with you for a few minutes, one thing came to mind, and that's the importance of dreams, of dreaming big. Alan who grew up here in Lansing, he was probably told from the time that he was a young man that he'd never be able to get a scholarship and play at Michigan State. What did he do? He kept dreaming. He kept praying, but most of all, he kept working. He got an opportunity to play here, not only football, but also to compete in track and field.
 
Then he was told the odds of making it to the National Football League are very small. What did he do? He kept dreaming. He kept working. He kept praying. He got his opportunity in the NFL. And because of his servant leadership, he came back here to join the police force, which many people probably told him was either too dangerous or not worth his time. He embraced it for 13 years. Then when this opportunity arrived to join this incredible athletic department, what did he do? He came in here. He worked hard. He kept dreaming. He kept praying. There were many people along the way that said he would never have an opportunity to be sitting in this seat today.
 
Why that is important is because for student athletes, like we have here today, we as leaders in the Big Ten Conference and on our incredible institutions, we need to encourage our young people to dream, to believe, to work hard. But most of all, we need to encourage them to develop the attributes that Alan Haller has. Those of intelligence, hard work, dedication, commitment to excellence, integrity, honesty, honor. Those are important. So, every morning that I wake up and I have an opportunity to lead this conference, I ask for the strength to do all that I can do to make sure we create an environment here to allow our 10,000 student athletes the opportunity to dream big, to support them.
 
Who's the next Alan Haller right now at Michigan State who one day will be the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, the president, the board chair, head coaches? They're here. They may be president of the United States, ambassadors, doctors, lawyers, school teachers, police officers. So, I am so grateful to have this opportunity to lead this incredible conference. I'm grateful to so many people who put their arms around Alan during his journey to get to this seat today. There are two gentlemen here that I'd like to point out, Joel Ferguson and Greg Eaton. I just want to thank you all for being strong Black men, to be able to lead men like Alan to say it's okay to be honorable, to work hard and to dream. For him to sit here today, there's so much credit that goes around this room. I also would like to thank President Stanley. This is not an easy time to be a college president, but I appreciate his commitment to excellence, to doing things the right way and his support of me on a daily basis.
 
So with that again, Alan, congratulations. It's been an incredible pleasure to watch you. I've noticed one thing about you. You'll make a great leader because you're a great supporter and the way you supported Bill Beekman is really special. I'd like to thank Bill for welcoming me into the Big Ten. So with that, on behalf of our 10,000 student athletes, our 6.4 million alumni, our 14 incredible institutions, I just want to congratulate you for all your hard work and to let you know to keep dreaming, keep working, keep praying, keep believing. You'll always have my unwavering support. I look forward to working with you as we're welcoming you into the room of athletic directors at the Big Ten Conference. So with that, I'd like to introduce head football coach, another spectacular human being, Coach Mel Tucker.

Mel Tucker:

Excuse my voice, we had practice this morning. I only raise my voice in enthusiasm. Thank you, Commissioner Warren. We appreciate you joining us today. It's great to see everyone here this afternoon to welcome Alan as our new athletics director. As many of you know, Alan has been associated with Michigan State for more than 30 years. He wore the green and white for Coach Perles as a defensive back and was a member of the track team as well. He is a Spartan for life and has rightfully earned deep respect and credibility from players, peers, coaches, and the community. I work with Alan on a daily basis, and I watched him in action interacting with our current and former players. Alan is a tremendous leader. He brings people together. He connects the dots. He listens to others and he cares deeply about Michigan State.

He will elevate our student athletes, the success of our department and our university as a whole. Alan understands what it takes to be successful at the highest level, and that's exactly what we need. To build a championship culture, we need the right people in the right seats at the right time. It's the same for our players. They not only have to want it, have to believe it, but they have to live it as well, and Alan does this each and every day. Alan has the vision and progressive mindset that I admire in a leader. Alan will be a visible, vocal, innovative proactive leader for MSU, the Big Ten, and nationally. The Spartan family is strong. We have a solid foundation. Now's the time to build the future. Alan is that leader.
 
This past Friday was a great night for Spartans everywhere. I was especially proud to celebrate the victory by presenting Alan with the number 20 Jersey for having been named the 20th athletics director in school history. It was a special moment to share with our players. They went crazy and I know they were excited for Alan as well. As soon as I called Alan up, they started saying, "AD, AD, AD, AD," going crazy on there. Alan, I look forward to working with you for many years. This is just the beginning and a sign of great things to come and Michigan State. Thank you again everyone for joining us today. I want to introduce our next speaker, one of our longest serving coaches, softball head coach Jacquie Joseph.

Jacquie Joseph:

I never thought I'd see so many people come out for the first day of practice. You guys didn't know that, did you? This is really a treat for me as I've known Alan since the day he joined our athletic department. Alan is a man of character and integrity. He is fiercely loyal to Michigan State. He truly cares about all our teams and our student athletes. He always has. He understands as well as we all do that fair does not mean the same and that everyone deserves an opportunity at excellence. This is not an easy job. He'll need the support of everyone who cares about MSU Athletics, but he has the vision and toughness to lead us. He will have that support from our coaches.
 
We've got the best coaches here at Michigan State. I just want to shout out to them. I know they're all here supporting you Alan, and we've got your back. I'm just super pleased to do this for him and to be here in front of you guys. Now I'm happy to introduce our women's golf coach entering her 26th season and by any measure one of the greatest coaches in the country, Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll.

Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll:

Good afternoon, everyone. Thanks for this opportunity to be here. It's a great, great pleasure. So excited. Our number one job as coaches is to recruit the greatest players, the next greatest players for our teams year in and year out. Every player that we recruit is introduced to the Spartan family. We don't have to talk a lot about it. We just let the recruit and their family feel and see it when they're in their 48 hours on our campus. It truly is a feeling and a sense from the people that make up our teams. Many of you that are here today, our current players, our coaches, our string trainers, academic coordinators, fundraisers, and the list goes on, they all care. They will all go above and beyond what is expected from each of them. That is the Spartan family.
 
I know that Alan Haller, our new athletic director, clearly knows all about the Spartan family. He has been a part of it for many years now. He is as passionate about our family as I am. The family changes us and molds us as young people, and it allows us to be who we are today. It is an honor to be here to welcome Alan and his family as the next leader of our department. It is exciting to know that we have an athletic director who understands our culture and our family. I was fortunate to have Alan as a supervisor for two years recently. In that time, I saw his dedication to our athletic department, to my student athletes and all of our student athletes and the staff. He listened, he cared. He asked questions. I knew that when I needed help, he was going to be there to help me in any way possible as any family member would do.
 
Alan will be a great leader because he wants Michigan State to be number one. We want to be the best in the business. That's what we're all here for today. He has been around long enough to see where we were at our best and where we were at our worst. He is passionate about Michigan State and his experience as a student athlete, both revenue and non-revenue, gives him perspective for the direction that we need to go next. Alan is a true Spartan, and I know he will embrace all of us as our families do to help us move forward, to get to that place that we know this department can be. We're all behind you, Alan, and we cannot wait for a new era in Spartan athletics. It is now my pleasure to introduce our men's basketball coach, Tom Izzo.

Tom Izzo:

Well you guys are in my building, so this is a good place to start, but I'm looking in the back. Commissioner Warren, where in the hell is the teleprompter because you're the only guy that got up here and spoke so eloquently without any notes. I mean, Coach Tuck had a book that somebody wrote for him. The first thing I'm going to tell Alan is I need a raise. I got all these football guys and the president, Coach D walked in my office in his Armani suit, Tucker, Warren, Haller, you guys all got ties. I had to go find a sport coat. I couldn't afford a tie. So I'd like that to be your first bit of duty. Thank God for Rick Lash. Somebody out there dresses like me, but getting to serious business.
 
Jacquie and Stacy got to see Alan as a player and I got to see him unfortunately sometimes as a police officer. I got to know him as an administrator and a friend. Now I get to see him with arguably one of the most important jobs because what goes on at the top usually filters down to the bottom. We are all servants of this university, then at the athletic department, and then hopefully of our teams. I know I got my players back there because I always said I wanted to be a part of hirings and sometimes firings because I've learned a lot as I've watched different people go through different things.
 
For Alan, to be everything you said, I could just say ditto because everybody talked about the same things, his integrity, his honesty. But I thought, since I came up kind of the same way he did, he played football, I worked for Jud. We both had our problems, but in doing that, you learn a lot. You go through your ups and downs. You've had success. You've had failure. There's no doubt that we've been through a lot here in the last four or five, six years, and I think understanding that is going to make it easier to move forward.
 
I want you to know that the dream big that everybody talked about has been my motto since I came here and you got to dream it to achieve it. You've proven that you've lived the dreams that Commissioner Warren said. You've walked the talk. I know you've been involved. You don't have to have somebody pave the way for that because you've done it. I think that's very, very important. So being homegrown as we looked through and Mel and I talked a lot, I talked to a lot of the other coaches, I talked to President Stanley, I talked to the board, there's always things that we don't have. I was never a head coach and things semi worked out. I could never win another championship fellows, national that is fellows, but we've all been through it. But when you've grown up through the process, and remember I think that's a word that we don't use enough anymore, there is a process and you have shown that you've stayed fast to the process. For that, I think you're going to be an incredible athletic director.
 
I'm looking forward to working for you. I'm looking forward to working with you. I appreciate what you've done for all of our student athletes and excited to see what the future is going to be. We've got championships to win. It doesn't matter which sport, the support that all these coaches give me, give each other is incredible. So, you are part of a special place here. I know that we have all of our pros coming back this weekend, not to put any pressure on you. I think Magic's coming back, not to put any pressure on you, but I think getting people back is a key and having one of our own, bringing them back is going to be a big key. So congratulations, congratulations to your family. I hope everybody has a great day.
 
With that being said, we've all talked about student athletes and Brooke Bogan is a sprinter. She is a big time athlete here, but as important she's a leader in our campus. So when you can do both, as you are doing, are going to be doing, you are doing now, I just want to say thank you for what you've done for our university. Thank you for the leadership you're giving. I think you'll enjoy working with Alan too. So with that, Brooke Bogan, you're the next speaker.

Brooke Bogan:
 
Thank you. Thank you, Coach Izzo. I want to say that I'm very grateful to be given the opportunity to be able to speak in front of all of you today at such a monumental and important event. As previously stated, my name is Brooke Bogan. I am a fifth year senior on the track and field team. In my five years, I've learned a lot about this university, being that especially in the athletic department, it takes a community in order to be able to run efficiently. When I heard that MSU would be on the search for a new athletic director, I had hoped that Alan would be brought into the conversation. I think because of not only his leadership within the athletic department prior, but also his experience as a Spartan athlete. It really speaks volumes both with football and track and field. So that definitely was something that stood out to me.
 
Since I know that you have a track and field background, I have made it my personal goal to get him on the track at some point and see if he's still got it. But on a more serious note, one thing I'll forever be grateful for is Alan's genuine care for student athletes. He is somebody who, when our team was at our high and low points, I could definitely count on seeing him on our zoom calls. A couple of summers ago when things got a little bit rocky with things surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion, he was somebody who was there to offer support. That also spoke a lot of volumes to me because it showed that he cared about us, not only on the track on the field, on the court, but also off. Without further ado, I have the greatest honor of introducing MSU's new athletic director, Mr. Alan Haller.

Alan Haller:

Wow. Emily Guerrant, Matt Larson, Tiffany Clark, you all told me this was going to be just a little small gathering. This is incredible. I mean, how many people are going to be able to be introduced by coaches Tucker, Izzo, Joseph and Slobodnik-Stoll and President Stanley and chair Dianne Byrum and Brooke, I'll get to you in just a second. This is incredible. Good afternoon. My pastor in one of his sermons recently mentioned that God had a sense of humor and ever since last week, I've been thinking about that sermon. Wednesday, when I was appointed, I was like, "How big of a sense of humor does God have? Is this really real?" Yes, it is. I'm your athletic director and I'm excited.
 
Bill Beekman, if you're here, I'm not sure if you're here. Thank you. Thank you for your leadership. Bill took us through some very challenging times and brought us through to the point where we could do a national search and give me the opportunity to be the athletic director. So thank you, Bill and Cindy, your wife. Thank you. Thank you, Brooke Bogan for that incredible introduction. You're amazing. I appreciate you. I was intentional. I wanted a student athlete to introduce me and I wanted you to do it. So thank you. As far as me getting on the track with you, you're a sprinter. So, all I do is jog really slow now. But I'm going to go through some thank yous and this might take a little bit, but this is a big deal for me. A lot of people have helped me throughout this time.
 
Wow, a former principal, Dr. Clyde Carnegie is here. Well, thank you. Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Eaton, my guy, Coach D, thank you for all your support. You all have helped me to get to this point. I would like to thank President Stanley for your leadership and offering me this opportunity. I'm really excited about working with you and being a part of your vision for Michigan State University. I'm excited to work with you. Thank you. To our board of trustees and chair, Dianne Byrum, thank you for your leadership. I'm excited to work with you as well. To our advisory committee who put a lot of work and effort in the search process, thank you for your efforts.
 
I also would like to thank the MSU community for your outpouring of support. I promise, I promise I will answer every single text message, every email and every voice message at some point, but there were a lot and I really appreciate your support. To all the current and former student athletes, the outpouring of congratulations and support and excitement has been incredible. Coach Tucker, what you did in the locker room and that chant, I can't describe what that did for me. So thank you to all of our student athletes. I promise you this, I promise you this current and former student athletes, we will work extremely hard to make sure you are proud of your athletic department. Thank you.

Thank you to my former teammates, some of them are here today, my family, you were amazing. You all picked me up, literally, and carried me and dropped me off at this point. So thank you to all of my Spartan teammates, my brothers. Thank you. I'll also like to thank all of my friends and coworkers at the MSU police department for your support. You've been incredible through this as well. All of my coaches, coaches that had a big impact on my life, and I'd like to go back and say thank you to my Little League coaches, Coach Lockhart and Coach Smith, Coach Tom and James Taylor, my high school coaches, coach Bob Myers and the legendary Paul Pozega, my guy. Thank you.
 
Also, my college coaches, my track coach, Coach Bibbs. You've been incredible. Oh my goodness. I talked to you last the other night and you weren't sure if you could make it. Thank you. Oh my goodness. You've meant so much to my life. So thank you for all your support and you're still there for me, and Coach Perles. I learned a lot of lessons from Coach Perles. Work hard, be on time, carry a flashlight because it's going to be a long day. My freshman year I learned the value of forgiveness. My freshman year I was on the punt block team and we were playing at Michigan and we have a punt block on. We blocked it. John Miller picked it up and ran it back for a touchdown and I was off sides. So it was called back, but he forgave me. To this day, that's one of the traits and values that I learned from my time under Coach Perles, so thank you.
 
To Jennifer Smith, deputy athletic director, you and I went through a lot this past couple of years in trying to lead a department. I'm thankful for your leadership and dedication to MSU and our student athletes. So thank you Jennifer Smith. To our coaches and staff for coming together these last couple of years and making sure that our student athletes had what they needed to be successful. So thank you to our coaches and staff.
 
I'd like to say, thank you to my family. My sister Audrey is here, my nephew Desmond, my other sister Sherry's in Denver. She couldn't make it, and my sons, Devin and Blake. Blake is excited because he gets to miss a little bit of school to be here today. But I promise you, son, we'll get you back in time for practice. DeWitt has a big game against East Lansing this week. So, I'll get you back. My daughter, Alison, she's a junior at Michigan State right now and she has been my rock. I came home about four or five weeks ago and Alison was in the kitchen and she said, "So I saw on social media the athletic director's position is open." I said, "Yeah," and I started talking about the process and it's a national search and it's going to be competitive. She stopped me right there and she said, "Dad, why can't you be the athletic director? You should be the athletic director." I said, "You know what, honey, I'm going to compete and go after it." So thank you, honey.
 
To my parents, my dad is at home watching. He couldn't be here, but my parents went to every single one of my events as a kid. Even as a young adult being out here at MSU and in the NFL, they were at every event, every football game, every track meet. My dad is an incredible person. I learned my servant leadership from my dad, how to treat people and make an impact on people across their paths. So thank you dad. Then my mom, my mom is not with us anymore. I used to get really, really nervous before events, before my football games and track meets. I come out in the stadium and on the track and I look up and I'd find my mom and she would be looking at me and that would calm me down. So, mom, I know you're here today. I feel your presence. I'm calm. I'm ready to go. Thank you, mom, for everything you've done for me.
 
We've experienced some tough times in Athletics the last couple of years. Recently, we lost two very valued members of our family in Jim Pignataro and Olivia Long. Jim and Olivia, we will honor your legacy and memory by being examples of who you were, which was caring, loving people who had an impact on our young people. So Jim and Olivia, you will be missed, but we will honor your legacy. I grew up in this great community. I'm a product of Lansing Public Schools, a proud graduate of Lansing J.W. Sexton class of 1988. My principal is here today. Thank you.
 
I started coming to this great campus as a little kid, attending art camp and MSU football camps. As you know, I was a student athlete here. I played football and ran track, and I've been coming to this great campus for the last 40 years. I love this community and I also played four years in the NFL. I was cut eight different times. That's probably, if you think about it, not even possible, but I learned the skill of being resilient and persevering through tough times through my time in the NFL. Last week, Fred Heumann, I think Fred is here and Jack Ebling asked me, has this always been your dream job? And yes, yes. You want to know why, that person is here as well. I didn't know he was going to be here, but he's here.
 
Dr. Clarence Underwood was an athletic director when I was a student athlete here. Dr. Underwood kind of took me under his wing and made me feel special and always was there as a person that gave me advice and guided me much like a Jedi. I'm a big Star Wars fan. I know my kids know that. So, I was his young apprentice. I learned during that time how to treat people and how to conduct yourself and how to look for the future. Dr. Underwood went on to be the 16th athletic director at Michigan State. I said, you know what, I'm going to go through this life and I'm going to have an impact or at least try to have an impact on young people the way Dr. Clarence Underwood had an impact on me. And here I stand in front of you as the 20th athletic director, in large part because of your leadership and your guidance in my life. So thank you, Dr. Underwood. You taught me well, which is another Jedi phrase.
 
So this is my dream responsibility. This is not a job. This is my dream responsibility. To our department staff and coaches, I promise to listen, learn and be engaged. Together, we will create a culture of excellence with a foundation of integrity, honesty, transparency, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Together we will celebrate our successes, and together we will support each other during challenging times. We are going to do some incredible things together, and we're going to have a little fun while doing it. To the MSU community and this great university, we will be a valued partner and member of this institution. Spartan athletics exist to add value to this great community, so we will be an extension of MSU. We will be an extension of MSU values, purpose, and mission, and our alumni fans and supporters, we will make all of you proud to be affiliated with MSU. I guarantee that.
 
Last week at Northwestern, before the game, we got there a little early and I went out and I walked through all of the MSU tailgates. I was surprised that a lot of people recognized me. I thought I could just kind of walk around, but it was a really cool experience getting to know some of the fans and just listening to them. We have the most passionate fan base out there. I was so energized being out there, walking through the tailgates. So, I'm going to bring that to this year. I'm going to walk every home football game. I'll be outside walking the tailgates, getting close to the community and learning from our community because this is about all of us together. This is going to be a community effort in terms of what we do moving forward. I will listen to our fans and supporters and community members.
 
Our student athletes, we have a representative from each team that is here. Student athletes, please stand. I am not the athletic director. I'm your athletic director. I work for you. There won't be any barriers or layers in between us. You will have direct access to me at all times. Like I mentioned before, my student athlete experience was transformational. It provided just about everything that has happened in my life. I want all of you to have that same experience. People have asked me what's different about your experience compared to the current student athletes, but no one's asked me what's the same. What's the same? It's that look in your eyes. It's that desire to be great. It's wearing your varsity jacket across campus. It's being with your teammates and going after a goal. It's being a part of this great university. That's what's the same. And you know what, our department staff, your coaches, your athletic director will do everything possible to make sure each of you have the resources and support to maximize your potential and go after your dreams.
 
In closing, Michigan State Athletics, thank you. Michigan State Athletics is positioned to do something really special. We are. That's why I took this responsibility, President Stanley. We are positioned to do something special, but it's not just my responsibility. I can't do it alone. I need all of the student athletes, all of the staff, all of the coaches, university leaders, the community, donors, letter winners, everyone. We have to do this together. I love this great university. We are going to do great things together. Thank you and Go Green!

Audience:

Go White!

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