Michigan State's athletic director Mark Hollis was presented with quite an honor on Wednesday evening. In New York City, Hollis was awarded the Sports Business Journal's 2012 Athletic Director of the Year, edging out four other ADs from around the country, including Michigan's Dave Brandon.â†µ
Hollis is the mastermind behind some of the most innovative events in college sports. In 2003, Hollis planned the "BasketBowl" game between Michigan State and Kentucky that drew a then-world record crowd of over 78,000 fans. In 2001, he came up with the idea to have an outdoor game between Michigan State-Michigan. Both ideas spurred plenty of subsequent games of their kind.â†µ
Perhaps his most remarkable idea, though, was the Aircraft Carrier game between the Spartans and North Carolina in 2011, which was the first ever basketball game to be played on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. President Obama was in attendance and, while the game itself wasn't all that exciting, it produced some of the more picturesque sports photos of the year.â†µ
Hollis is now scheming to take the Spartans' basketball team to Greece to do battle with the USC Trojans. If he is able to pull that off, he may wind up with another Athletic Director of the Year award to add to his shrine.