Two generations of sports information

Since at least his Mankato high school days, Sean Allan ‘19 knew he wanted a job like his dad’s: Immersed in sports, traveling around the country and working behind the scenes with the teams and with sports media.

And it seemed no matter where Sean traveled over the years, he’d hear a common line: “I know your dad.”

Father and son Paul Allan, left, and Sean Allan in 2019. The two are sports information providers for, respectively, the Mavericks and University of Minnesota-Duluth.

“I always thought it was pretty cool he was meeting all these people that were big in sports,” said Sean, who today is athletic communications coordinator for the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

His father is Paul Allan ‘02, longtime sports information contact and associate director of athletics for Minnesota State Mankato. Not only has Sean followed his dad’s footsteps into a sports information job, he’s doing it for a likely rival in the upcoming Frozen Four hockey tournament. As Sean gets to note frequently, this is Duluth’s fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament. It is Mankato’s first.

Both schools are in the national sports media spotlight, and both Allans are working nonstop keeping up. But the elder Allen is enjoying the perspective.

“In college  hockey,  Minnesota Duluth is one of the most high-profile programs,” Paul said. “So I’m really proud of the job he has done in that situation. For a young guy with not a whole lot of experience, he has, by all accounts, done a really good job there. I’m really proud of the work he’s done.”

Sean is in the second of a two-year stint that, in the wake of a departing sports information director, has him taking on more responsibilities than first expected. He took the job after graduating Minnesota State Mankato in 2019 with a communications degree.

Paul received his master’s degree in sport management from the University in 2002 after transferring in 1985 from Northern Arizona and joining the Mavericks athletic staff. He served as press officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee at two U.S. Olympic Festivals and the Winter Olympic Games in the 1990s. He was also venue press chief for hockey at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Paul was named Associate Athletic Director of Athletics in 2009.

And he’s been through plenty of rapid-fire times when national or world media descends, and he has no doubt Sean’s managing these days well.

“Sean is a calm kid, and in this kind of work, we have to grind for nine months,” Paul said. “It’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week for nine months. Because your games are not just hockey but all sports. And Sean has more responsibility other than hockey  So I know what he’s going through right now.”

The press coordination for the Frozen Four gave Paul a nice glimpse into the inroads his son is making in the market. As soon as the Mavericks won the March 29 game that put them into the tournament, he called an east coast photographer who he’d worked with previously.

“He works a lot of these NCAA championship events,” Paul said. “I called him right away because he’s really good and I think a lot of people would try to get him.”

In the call, Paul recalled with a chuckle, the photographer noted: “I’ve already talked with Sean at Minnesota Duluth.”

The national semifinals take place Thursday, April 8 with the Mavericks vs. St. Cloud State and  Duluth vs. Massachusetts.