Wednesday, May 11th, MBN and over 100 corporate leaders from Mid-Michigan gathered at the Michigan Room on the campus of LCC to hear from Mark Hollis, COO of Rock Ventures, and former MSU Athletic Director. He previously had spoken to the MBN Speakers Series Business Sports Luncheon in the autumn of 2015. At the bottom of this article enjoy a portion of the photos Dave Trumpie Photography gathered during the event. More will be found on social media in coming days!
Mark Hollis serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Rock Ventures, tying threads among the 100+ companies in Dan Gilbert’s portfolio and delivering value to those companies located in Detroit, Cleveland, Charlotte, Phoenix, and other Family of Companies communities. Positively impacting Rocket Companies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Shinola, Bedrock, 100Thieves, StockX, Xenith, Dictionary.com and other Family of Companies are among his primary duties. Working with FOC team members, he was involved in launching and coordinating the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit’s annual PGA TOUR event, the Forbes Under 30 Summit, Detroit Grand Prix transformation, and attracting other outreach events. As Chairman of the Detroit Sports Organizing Corporation, Mark is frequently working with Detroit’s professional and amateur sports teams, entertainment entities, and venues.
Hollis retired from a 38-year career in intercollegiate athletics after serving 10 years as the athletics director at Michigan State University. During his tenure at MSU, Hollis was known for his innovation in the development of creative events. The Cold War outdoor ice hockey game established world-record attendance for the sport and led to the NHL’s Winter Classic. The world-record attendance setting “The BasketBowl” men’s basketball game played at Ford Field led to today’s NCAA Final Four venue format. The Game of Change commemorated the historic game played at Jenison Fieldhouse and featured Detroit’s history with the Tuskegee Airmen. The Quicken Loans Carrier Classic played on the flight deck of the USN Carl Vinson led to future military appreciation events by college and professional sports. And the PK80, a 16-team men’s basketball event played in two Portland-based venues, delivered a unique appreciation for Phil Knight’s contributions to college sports.
Hollis received the 2015 National Football Foundation John Toner Award and the 2012 Athletic Director of the Year by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal/Daily. He served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, as chair for the 2016-17 season. Hollis was instrumental in negotiating long-term agreements for Michigan State University with WJR, Nike, and Fox Sports. During his tenure, the Spartans competed in 3 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Fours, 8 bowl games (including the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff), and won 29 Big Ten championships and 1 National championship. MSU athletics facilities saw some of their biggest improvements with renovations and construction projects including Spartan Stadium, Breslin Center, golf facility, football building, baseball stadium, and softball stadium.
Prior to returning to Michigan State, Hollis spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh as associate athletic director. Before his stint at Pitt, Hollis worked for the Western Athletic Conference. He joined the WAC as an administrative assistant immediately after college. Two years later, he was appointed assistant commissioner. Hollis earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Michigan State in 1985, where he served as a basketball team manager under Jud Heathcote. In 1992, he earned his MBA in business administration from the University of Colorado.
He and his wife Nancy, have a daughter, Katy, and two sons, T.R. and Michael.
LCC Lansing campus Gannon Building, Michigan Room.
Mark's headshot provided. Event photos courtesy Dave Trumpie Photography.