Michigan State names Alan Haller as new athletic director

Haller gets five-year contract to lead the Big Ten school’s athletics department

Michigan State named football alumnus and deputy athletic director Alan Haller as its 20th athletic director on Wednesday.

Haller served as deputy athletic director since 2019, having been with the athletic department since 2010. He was a lieutenant for the university police department for 13 years.

Haller’s appointment comes more than two decades after the post was held by Merritt Norvell, the first Black person to lead a Big Ten school’s athletic department, the school’s website says.

Haller played cornerback for the Spartans under coach George Perles from 1988-91 before playing for multiple NFL teams from 1992-95.

“I’m very excited for this huge opportunity,” Haller said in a news release. ”Coming from an athletic background and being a Spartan alumnus on the football team, MSU Athletics is just in my blood.”

With Haller’s appointment, the state of Michigan’s two Big Ten schools now have a Black man serving as athletic director. Warde Manuel was named athletic director at the University of Michigan in 2016.

Haller will replace Bill Beekman, who resigned in August to serve as the first vice president for strategic initiatives at the university. MSU gave Haller a five-year contract with an annual base salary of $800,000, according to The Detroit News.

Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans leads his team onto the field against the Indiana Hoosiers at Spartan Stadium on November 14, 2020 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Beekman, who was an internal candidate with no athletic background, was named athletic director in 2018 taking over for Mark Hollis who stepped down from the position after a decade amid the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

Haller was named during the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday. The board voted unanimously to approve his selection during a special meeting. He chaired the search for the university’s sixth chief of police and has also served in the searches for MSU’s two most recent football coaches, Mark Dantonio and current coach Mel Tucker.

“Alan has been a leader in developing athlete administrators and broadening the depth and breadth of our diverse talent within MSU Athletics,” MSU President Samuel Stanley said in a statement. “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.” 

Michigan State University’s football team is also being led by second-year head coach Mel Tucker, one of three Black head football coaches of 14 Big Ten schools.

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