EAST LANSING, Mich. — Tuesday was Alan Haller's first day as MIchigan State University's new athletic director, but he's no stranger to the university or the Lansing community.
“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,” Haller said.
Haller was also a student athlete at MSU playing football and running track and field.
"I’ve been coming to this great campus for the last 40 years," Haller said. "I love this community.”
MSU Samuel Stanely decided to conduct a nationwide search for a new athletic director following Bill Beekman's resignation.
“To look at all options and find the best fit for our current needs and future opportunities and the process worked the way it should. it lead us to the best candidate and new leader for our athletics department,” Stanley said.
The university board settled on someone close to home.
“The values that Alan Haller lives integrity, compassion, empathy and a steadfast commitment to public service makes him a natural leader,” Stanley said.
Haller played for the NFL after graduation, but returned to campus to be a police officer and later transitioned to the athletic department. Some like men's basketball coach Tom Izzo even remember him as a student.
“I got to see Alan as a player and i got to see him, unfortunately, sometimes as a police officer and got to see him as an administrator and now get to see him with arguably one of the most important jobs,” Izzo said.
Stanley said Haller stood out in the search because of his background.
“These experiences have shaped him as a leader and influenced the decision he has for moving MSU athletics forward,” Stanley said.
And the work he's done so far with students.
“A couple 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 and 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,” said MSU track and field senior Brooke Borgan.
Haller said he applied for the job thanks to some encouragement from his daughter.
“She said, 'So I saw on social media the athletic director's position is open' and I said 'Yeah.' I started talking about the process and that it’s a national search and it’s going to be competitive and she stopped me right there and she said 'Dad, why can’t you be the athletic director? You should be the athletic director,'" Haller said.
Haller said this is his dream job and is excited to work with the athletic staff, coaches and students.
“Together we will create a culture of excellence with the foundation of integrity, honesty, transparency, equity and inclusion," Haller said. "Together we will celebrate our successes. 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.”
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