The end of an era: Paul Allan to retire after 37 years at Minnesota State

After more than 37 years of directing Minnesota State’s athletic department, Paul Allan has decided it is time to move on after this semester.

“What’s it going to be like not being here anymore? I don’t know,” said Allan. “It’s a little bit unbelievable that I won’t be working here in some respects.”

A native of Calgary, Canada, Allan decided to come to the U.S. to attend college at West Texas State.

“I didn’t know a soul when I came here,” said Allan. “I just wanted an opportunity and it turned out to be here.”

After applying for several jobs, Allan joined MSU’s athletics department staff in 1985. (Prior to that, he spent three years at Northern Arizona University as a Graduate Assistant, later turned Assistant, in the sports information office.)

Ending up in Minnesota brought nothing but excitement to Allan. He saw a lot of similarities between Minnesota and Canada and appreciated the fact that he found a school with hockey, along with many other sports.

“I’m lucky I ended up with a school that had 20 sports,” said Allan. “I was even more excited about being in a situation where I could build my own sort of athletic communications program and work with young people.”

During his time at MSU, Allan was named assistant athletic director/communications in 2003, associate director of athletics in 2009 and senior deputy director/external operations in 2022.

According to Allan, one of the most important parts in his line of work is the relationships built and connections made.

“Public relations is a relationship business,” said Allan. “We connect with people so we can do a better job. It extends not just from here at MSU, but outside of MSU.” 

Making connections has proven to be beneficial for Allan outside of MSU, as he was given the chance to work for the U.S. Olympic Committee multiple times.

Allan not only served as a press officer at two U.S. Olympic Festivals, he also served as a press attache for speed skating in the 1992 Winter Olympic Games, as well as venue press chief for hockey in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

“Part of the goal was to get some additional experience, some professional development type of opportunities,” said Allan. “It was a lot of fun and really cool. A lot of great memories from both of those things.”

Ever since Allan joined the MSU staff, he has witnessed such growth and many successes of both the athletic teams and athletics staff.

“We’ve been crazy successful and it’s been unbelievable,” said Allan. “I also feel really good about the young people who have come through here, who are now professional PR people.”

Allan declined to say what is next for him. For now, he looks forward to spending more time with his wife Lori (who he also met at MSU), their three sons and their grandkids.

“I knew even when I started, this is the work I wanted to do,” said Allan.“Nothing but gratitude. I’ve always sincerely felt that I was the luckiest guy around just to be able to do this.”  

Header Photo: Paul Allan, senior deputy director/external operations, will retire after this semester from Minnesota State after 37 years.(Dylan Engel/The Reporter)

Write to Ali Reed at Alicia.Reed@mnsu.edu

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