NEW YORK — Michigan State’s Clinton Jones, and Athletics Director Mark Hollis reveled in their separate moments, but they never felt alone at the 58th annual National Football Foundation event at the historic Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Dec. 8. Jones was among 15 players and two coaches enshrined later that night into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was a two-time All-American halfback on the 1965 and 1966 national championship teams.
“Somehow we came together as one family,” said Jones, citing team chemistry. “And today you have Mark Dantonio, Mark Hollis and (president) Lou Anna K. Simon; they have chemistry. So in a sense, it’s like repeating each other as one family. And they’re on the road to accomplishing something very great for the 21st century. We were the athletes in the 20th century.”
Hollis was honored with the John L. Toner Award, which recognizes superior administrative success and dedication to promoting football. Hollis is in his eighth year as athletics director, but his association with the basketball program dates to serving as a volunteer student assistant under Head Coach Jud Heathcote in the early-to-mid-1980s. That was when he began a relationship with Tom Izzo, Heathcote’s longtime assistant and successor now in his 21st season.
Hollis returned to Michigan State in 1995 as assistant athletics director. Prior to his AD promotion in 2008, he played a key role in hiring Dantonio to rebuild the program.
“We’re having a good time right now,” Hollis said. “Michigan State is a special place with great coaches. We have things rolling right now.”