EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University Athletic Director Bill Beekman will step down from his position to take on a new role with the university.
Beekman will become vice president for strategic initiatives, a new position created to coordinate efforts to implement MSU’s strategic plan. Beekman will make the transition this fall.
MSU President Samuel Stanley made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
“Bill stepped in to help our athletic department during a time of turmoil and change, and we thank him for that,” said Stanley. “That department is in a better place now and ready to look for long-term leadership to propel us to a new, nationally leading level. With his skills and extensive institutional knowledge, I feel Bill is an ideal fit for this new strategic initiatives role.”
Beekman has a base salary of $750,000 as athletic director and a contract that runs through 2023. That contract also says that, if he's removed from that position without cause before July of 2023, he would be given a five-year appointment as a vice president and senior consultant at a salary of $375,000 a year.
The university hired a national firm to search for a new athletic director. Beekman will lead the athletic department until a new athletic director is in place.
Beekman was named interim vice president and athletic director in February 2018 after the sudden retirement of Mark Hollis. Though he had no experience in managing an athletic program, and despite explicit promises to conduct a national search for the position, then-MSU President John Engler appointed him as the permanent leader that July.
“I have been honored to serve as athletic director at Michigan State, and I thank the Board of Trustees and our administration for this opportunity,” Beekman said. “While we’ve experienced the most challenging 18 months in the history of college athletics, we’ve pushed forward on many fronts, laying the groundwork for the future. Great things are ahead for Michigan State athletics. I’m also excited for this new role in the administrative team as the vice president for strategic initiatives, working with President Stanley to drive our great university forward.”
During Beekman's time in office, the athletic department received the largest single cash commitment from an individual in the history of MSU when former men’s basketball player Mat Ishbia committed $32 million in February 2021.
Beekman also presided over the hiring of four head coaches including head football coach Mel Tucker, director of cross country track and field Lisa Breznau, women's soccer coach Jeff Hosler and rowing head coach Kim Chavers.
He also hired the department’s first chief diversity officer, Ashley Baker, in 2020 and implemented a mid-career leadership development program focused on advancing the careers of women and people of color.
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