MISSOULA — University of Montana Athletic Director Kent Haslam announced that Mike Hanson has been hired as the school’s new Assistant Athletic Director of Communications to replace the venerable Dave Guffey, who will retire after 37 years with the department.
Hanson brings over two decades of Communications and Media Relations experience in the NCAA, NFL, NHL, and NBA to Montana. He joins the Griz from Alma College (Alma, Mich.) where he has served as the Scots’ Sports Information Director since 2008, overseeing 25 teams at the NCAA DIII level.
Previously, Hanson spent five years with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, and has worked with the Florida Panthers of the NHL, the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots in the NFL.
His experience in the professional ranks includes working six Super Bowls, three NHL All-Star Games and one NBA All-Star game. In the NFL, Hanson served under notable coaches including Bill Parcells, Don Shula and Jimmy Johnson, and athletes Dan Marino, Warren Moon and Drew Bledsoe.
“I am extremely excited to accept the position of Assistant Athletic Director of Communications with the University of Montana,” said Hanson. “It is a first class institution with a great tradition of success both on and off the athletic fields.
“Every step of the way during the interview process I was impressed with the passion, drive and commitment of the people I met with and came across in my time in Missoula. I am honored to be joining the athletic department and to be in a position of representing such a wonderful university.”
A UM search committee selected Hanson for the position following an extensive nationwide search that included over 100 applicants.
“We are excited to have Mike join the athletic department at the University of Montana,” said Haslam. “He brings a wealth of experience in professional sports and collegiate athletics. I know he will be a strong advocate for Grizzly student-athletes and the university. I look forward to working with Mike.”
Mike Hanson has served as the Director of Sports Information at Alma College since 2008, where he was responsible for the publicity and communications for a large roster of 25 men’s and women’s sports.
From 2002 – 2007 Hanson was the Executive Director of Communications for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, where he oversaw and managed the communications department and developed and executed the marketing and communications plan for the club.
In his five-year stint in the NHL, Hanson served as the Panthers’ Director of Broadcasting and Communications, while working with Head Coach Mike Keenan, one of the NHL’s all-time winningest coaches, and notable players such as Pavel Bure.
Hanson began his tenure in the NFL in 1990 when he spent four seasons with the New England Patriots as the Director of Public Relations. He then exchanged the cold of the Northeast for the Florida sun in taking a media relations role with the Miami Dolphins for an additional three years.
Originally from Minnesota, Hanson graduated from the University of Minnesota with dual degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science. He is married to Jana (Anfinsen) Hanson, and has two children, Zach (18) and Sydney (14).
“There is a great tradition for Grizzly athletics and my goal is to not only continue that, but to grow it even further,” Hanson added. “I am replacing a man that has given his entire working career to the institution, and I do not take that responsibility lightly. Grizzly Nation is a healthy, vibrant and motivated group of people, and I cannot wait to assimilate myself into that company.
“The future is bright, and I am excited to get started and help in my own small way of bringing championships to the university and to the entire state of Montana. In addition, my family is anxious to become active members of the Grizzly family and to become entrenched in the entire community of Missoula.”
Hanson will assume duties in his new role at Grizzly Athletics in May.
— Montana Sports Information