A seismic shift is occurring in the college sports landscape and nowhere has that been felt more than in the Big Ten.
UCLA and USC join that traditional Midwest conference in 2024 and new annual traditions will be initiated.
Longtime Big Ten member Michigan State has had its own noticeable changes recently inside its athletic department under Alan Haller, who was named Athletic Director less than a year ago. Haller is an NFL alumnus who was drafted out of Michigan State on the fifth round of the 1992 Draft by the Steelers.
Haller already has named four new head coaches at East Lansing in varsity sports that had been nearly dormant on campus in recent years.
“This is a pivotal time in college athletics,” says the 51-year old Haller. “I think all of us at MSU need to have that innovative mindset every day we come in, let’s think about what we can do differently and how we can be successful.”
The four sports with new coaches are tennis, softball, hockey, and volleyball.
“I hired people who present a vision of energy,” says Haller, a Michigan native, “as well as a vision of enthusiasm, innovation, current practices with these sports, skill development, being able to recruit and being able to relate to today’s prospects.”
Haller’s coaching hires have varying levels of experience with the youngest aged 28 and the oldest 42.
“We have to put a culture in place where we’re competing,” says the former NFL defensive back who had to compete every summer for an NFL roster spot during his four-year career. ”I am not going to tell any of our coaches that they must win a Big Ten championship or it’s not acceptable. However, I want us all to be very, very competitive in everything we do.”
The collegiate athletic scene is going to be very closely watched these next few years, especially in the Big Ten where even more schools may be added. However, the Spartans of Michigan State appear to be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead under NFL alum Alan Haller.
We at NFL Alumni will be watching along with millions of other sports fans around the country.