Sources within Michigan State University's administration confirmed to the Detroit Free Press last week that a group of trustees approached men's basketball coach Tom Izzo about running the athletic department in an interim capacity while a national search is conducted. However, university president Samuel Stanley nixed that plan and hopes to present a candidate for athletic director to the board this week.
Izzo agreed to temporarily head the department in the best interest of the university until a new athletic director could be found, but he wants to continue coaching and would not be considered for the permanent job.
Sources, speaking under the condition of anonymity, told the Free Press that Stanley, who took over as president in 2019 in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, does not want to appoint an interim athletic director and has not actively involved the trustees, Izzo or football coach Mel Tucker in the search process. MSU hired Todd Turner and Collegiate Sports Associates to conduct the search and an internal advisory council has been formed to screen candidates, per the sources. Said one source, "It's going pretty fast."
According to Free Press writer Chris Solari, that speed resulted in a standoff between the president and members of the Board of Trustees, who have been fighting for transparency with the candidate pool and are concerned about trying to make an AD hire during football season. The trustees — some of whom are backing Stanley, some of whom are trying to get the board more engaged in the process — ultimately would have to approve Stanley’s choice, Solari writes.
Outgoing athletic director Bill Beekman announced his resignation Aug. 5. The plan then was for Beekman, who was appointed athletic director by then-interim MSU president John Engler in 2018, to remain in the role on an interim basis for an unspecified time as the university conducted a national search for his replacement. Beekman, who worked in multiple administrative roles within the university, had no experience in athletics.