Working In Sports Spotlight: Dede Allen
Dede Allen (left) is in her 24th year at Alaska Anchorage and has over three decades of experience in collegiate athletics.
Dede Allen (left) is in her 24th year at Alaska Anchorage and has over three decades of experience in collegiate athletics.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The 2018 GNAC Working In Sports seminar will take place on Saturday, March 3 at the Alaska Airlines Center on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Now in its fourth year, the Working In Sports seminar provides high school and college-aged students with an interest in a career in athletics a chance to hear from, and network with, professionals from all aspects of the athletics industry.

The seminar is limited to the first 100 registrants. To reserve your spot, visit

This Working In Sports Spotlight profiles one of this year’s featured panelists.

Name: Dede Allen
Current Position: Associate Director of Athletics  for Compliance & Academics / Senior Woman Administrator
Years In Current Position: Over 23 years at UAA and 32 overall in athletic administration

Colleges Attended & Degrees: University of North Carolina Asheville (Undergraduate, Financial Management), Western Carolina University (Graduate, Human Resource Development)

Primary Job Responsibilities: Compliance - Creating processes to avoid violations, report violations when they occur, develop and deliver compliance education to coaches and staff and other university offices with which we have contact (FAO, admissions). Academics - Monitoring academic progress & advising student-athletes, facilitate tutoring & monitor/intervene with at-risk student-athletes). Serve on Campus Committee as Athletics' Title IX specialist, SAAC Liaison, game management, coordinator of Seawolf Hall of Fame and member of athletic director's executive staff.

Things You Enjoy Most About Your Job: Seeing young men & women transform over their time with us from freshmen to graduates. Being part of a staff (UAA) and an organization (NCAA) that values integrity.

Why You Pursued A Professional Career In The Athletics Industry: I realized banking wasn't for me. I preferred the cyclical nature of the university environment and putting my business and then HR background to work in athletics seemed like the right fit.

First Job In The Sports Industry: Lifeguard, box office ticket seller, concessions worker.

A Key Mentor Who Helped You On Your Career Path: The president of a savings and loan (can't remember his name) in Asheville, N.C., who sat down with me and talked to me about the nuts and bolts of working in the banking industry. He asked me basic questions like: Did I like flexibility or a set schedule? Did I like repetitive tasks or a changing horizon? Did I imagine myself working in a large office building with air conditioning or a job that took me outside? Did I see myself wearing suits to work or more casual clothing? I know there were many other things we talked about, but this really cemented in my mind that I needed to stop looking for a job in a bank and stick where I was and develop my talents in an environment where I would thrive.

Most Influential Person In Your Early Professional Development (And Why): Ed Farrell, director of athletics at Univ. of North Carolina-Asheville, who created a full-time benefited position for me at UNCA after I had worked there for a couple of years on a contract. We had limited budgets, but he wrote the best "thank-you" notes that genuinely recognized my hard work and effort. He noticed everything. He had high standards and expected a lot, but he was kind and forgiving if you were trying to achieve the best, even when you tried and failed.

Biggest Hurdle You Overcame Breaking Into The Sports Industry: Men assuming that I had gotten my job because I was "unfairly" benefiting from anti-discrimination laws protecting women or because of more unseemly reasons! I decided not to be bitter about that and do my job in a way that satisfied my own expectations and eventually earned their respect or ignored their ignorance!

Key Attributes That Have Helped You To Be Successful: Persistence, willingness to learn and adapt and ability to ignore detractors.

Looking Back, What Is One Thing You Would Do In College Or Early On To Help You Along Your Career Path: Studied a year abroad and become fluent in a second language.

Best Advice You Would Give To A Young Student Wanting To Work In Sports: Be willing to do the grunt work and start at the bottom with the full expectation that you will EARN your way to the top.

Favorite Sports Team: The Seawolves! That's where my paycheck comes from. Dallas Cowboys - That's where I was born.

Favorite Athlete: Secretariat

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: There are two! Watching Secretariat win the Triple Crown & The 1980 Miracle on Ice Hockey team besting the Russians to get to the final game and then winning the Olympics.