Wednesday, January 19, 2022
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The man behind the scenes

Former director James Allen
Former director James Allen

Sports Information Director James Allan recently left UMKC athletics with big shoes to fill.

With the birth of his first child, Jonathan Thomas, last Monday night, Allan will return to his home state of Iowa to be the assistant director of news media at the University of Iowa.

“He’s from Iowa, his wife’s from Iowa, he’s going home,” said Jessica Dickson, assistant athletics director for external relations. “The timing is perfect with the new baby. He’ll be closer to home, and with this new role, he won’t travel as much.”

While working at UMKC for the past six years, Allan put in about 60 hours a week, especially during the basketball season when he travelled with the team.

“I enjoyed traveling with James on road games, because I really got to know him as a person,” Head Basketball Coach Matt Brown said. “[He] had a great sense of humor and will be missed. He had a great rapport with the players as well as the coaching staff.”

Allan had a real passion for sports during his tenure here at UMKC.

“[He kept] the foundation of what a sports information director does with the media guides, the statistics and the historical records,” Dickson said.

But not only did Allan have a passion for sports and keeping the public informed, he also developed relationships with the athletes and coaches.

“James developed a genuine connection to the student-athletes, coaches, and athletics staff in his work,” Head Golf Coach John VanDenBorn said. “That connection fueled his enthusiasm in reporting on the people and events within our athletics family.”

“You just have to love it and be passionate about it in order to put in the hours that you put in in this world,” Dickson said.

During his time here, the role of sports information director has changed greatly with the changing tide of technology.

“[He] really led the charge in the modification of what his role does,” Dickson said.

Website redesign, video and social media has all evolved in the last six years and Allan adapted well with it. And now that the position is open, it has to be redefined to fit all that Allan was doing before any hiring can be done.”

Allan was helpful in informing the public and keeping the media updated.

He established good rapport with local media outlets including the Kansas City Star and U-News.

Without the help of Allan, the U-News sports section would not have been able to inform as efficiently or thoroughly.

VanDenBorn offers an insight shared by many, including U-News sports:

“[Allan] and the staff he has assembled here at UMKC do a tremendous job in promoting the accomplishments of our student-athletes both on and off the fields of play,” VanDenBorn said. “These same traits are very much evidenced in the continuing work of the staff he leaves behind. There is no doubt James will continue to be a great friend to UMKC Athletics.”

kbryce@unews.com

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