If you’ve been at a Gophers football, men’s hockey, or women’s basketball game recently, chances are you’ve seen Allie Krings on the sideline. The 2013 Byron High School graduate began working with Gopher Digital Productions as a freshman and has continued her incredible work, even after graduating in 2017. Krings works multiple jobs around the cities including with the Vikings, AirVuz and Crisp TV among others. Recently, Krings sat down with Jared Hines of GopherHole to answer questions that Gophers fans might want to know about their local in-arena host.
*Questions and Answers have been combined and edited for clarity purposes*
Q: We are coming up on the five year anniversary of you being caught on TV posting selfies with friends on Big Ten Network. Since then, have your selfie skills improved and do you still have your phone case bedazzled all the time?
Allie: The truth comes out; it was my friend's phone. It wasn't even my cell phone. I've never had a bedazzled phone case. I currently just have a black one, leather and super basic. I would say that my selfie skills have improved. I am great at finding good lighting and making the optimal selfie. That's one of the reasons I love Mariucci. The ice makes your face look amazing. If I have a zit, that’s not staying in the picture, I’m going to be honest with you but I think that’s pretty typical now. I don’t feel guilty saying that because I think it’s a normal thing with all the apps we have now.
Q: It looked like you competed in cross country at Byron. Were there other sports that you enjoyed watching or playing in your high school days as well?
Allie: First off, "competed in cross country" is a really generous way to put it. I ran cross country on a bet. I finished near last every race, but we're such a small school that I made varsity, so I wasn't a strong runner. We had very few people trying out. I had two of my friends say, "There's no way you can do it." They were wrong at the end of the day. I did do it, but it was so hard and my respect for runners, in general, is so high because it was just purely mental. Getting through every practice, I wrote on the calendar and I had 63 days left to go. Every day I'd come home and cross one off, but I made it and I'm really proud of myself for doing that. I will never do it again. Since my cross country days, I have never run more than like, two miles, but back in the day that was tough. People don't even realize it, and this sounds like such a small amount to any actual runner now, but I would go to practice and they would be like, "Alright, let's do a mile and a half warm up." And I'd be like, "Alright." Then we would do our actual run, which was maybe three-ish, four miles, and then we'd get done and they're like, "Great. Let's do sprints." I'm like, "Whoa, get me out of here."
I grew up playing a lot of basketball. I'm in a really sport-dominated family of three brothers, but once I hit high school I was all speech, all theater and I just really love communicating with people. I love talking. I think, to be honest, without learning those skills so early, I would never have gotten to the point where I am today. I think it really helped me with my confidence and being in front of people. It helps me now.
Q: You had a 9-to-5 job that you left to do everything that you're doing now. Why did you do this and what's your ultimate dream job?
Allie: I left because you know you're doing something you love when you leave and you're energized and you're so excited about it, versus you're not exhausted, even though it was really strenuous or you had to use a lot of your energy. That's how I feel every time that I work for the Gophers or get to be in the role that I'm in right now. Whereas at my other job, I was just working PR and it was a great foundation for me; the company was awesome, the people that I worked with really believed in me and supported me, and for that, I'll be forever grateful. But I knew at the end of the day, I was aching to be communicating with people and to be, not necessarily in a sporting venue, but to just be working with people and be using more of the skills that I'm able to with the Gophers.
Q: You work with multiple athletes in both college and pro and have had the chance to do a lot of things that many people haven't got the chance to do. What would you consider to be one highlight that sticks out to you through the course of working various jobs? Something fun you got to do, or a certain athlete that you've always wanted to meet that you got to meet?
Allie: I kinda thought about it in college and pro. When I was a student here, I was really good friends with the volleyball team and Gopher volleyball is a powerhouse, so it was really cool to learn the game from their eyes. Interview my own best friends. Just off the top of my head, Paige Tapp, Hannah Tapp, Katie Schau. Then the other athletes that I loved talking to were Sara Groenewegen and Rachel Banham. They were just amazing people to watch to perform, and then actually to talk to. I loved that.
Then working with the Vikings has been a total swing. I actually host a kids show for them, so in that role it's really cool because there are all these men that you see on the football field that are very intense and serious in their work, but then when they're with me a lot of times they can be goofier 'cause they know it's directed for a young age group and they're silly and stuff. I don't know if I can say "favorite" out loud, but my favorite Viking will probably always be Everson Griffin. For the past two years we've had to work together a lot and every time he works with the kids, he is phenomenal, he is hilarious. He is so uplifting to be around and I feel really fortunate to get to see that side of him and see the way that everybody absolutely adores Everson when you're with him. I think he's amazing.
Q: Via your Instagram account, you're currently dating Miguel Ibarra, a midfielder for the Minnesota United. How'd you two meet and how has your outlook--either positively or negatively--on soccer changed since meeting Miguel? Were you always a fan of soccer? Have you become more a fan of soccer since?
Allie: No, I wasn't always a fan just because I didn't grow up in a soccer-dominated area or anything. We met through mutual friends, but since getting to know him more, I really admire the work that they do because it's so thankless sometimes. The tough runs that they do, it's a lot of work. I know some games, he'll run 11 or 12 miles and like I said before, I am definitely not doing that. But even more so, Miguel specifically, I really admire him just as a person because I think the path to the pros isn't easy and it wasn't easy for him, but I think for many professional athletes they would say the same thing. It's really cool to be with him because he knows that when you have a dream, it's okay to keep going. You might hit some road bumps and whatnot, and so I really feed off of that energy as well.
Q: Since you work so many different jobs throughout the different seasons, your day-to-day has to be extremely different every single day. What are a few things that are constant? Things that you do every single day, no matter if it's football season, or women's basketball, or hockey. What are some things that you do, or like to do, every single day?
Allie: I have a Mini Shiba Inu named MJ. Every day I try to do stuff with him. We all joke that I'm a glorified stay-at-home dog mom, and so I definitely try to make sure that he gets everything that he needs. Otherwise, as far as work goes, the main thing I try to focus on regardless of the sport is giving myself enough time to prepare. I don't mean that necessarily as like, "Okay. Here are the promotions that are coming up today. We need to nail these lines." More so in a way that when I come to the venue, I really have to be on all the time. Whether or not I'm talking on the microphone, everybody that sees me will know that I'm representing the Gophers in some facet and so I really wanna make sure that I'm doing that justice; I'm doing myself justice; putting my best face forward. So I think a lot of times that means being relaxed all day so that I can come here and be like, "Yep, this is what I'm like all the time. I'm super energetic."
Q: When did you decide that being around sports was something that you wanted to do? Have you always had a passion for sports?
Allie: I really didn't think when I graduated that I would have an opportunity. I'm a strat com major, so I went PR because I thought, "This is what you do. I don't wanna go to a small market." I never wanted to be on the news, so I think a lot of people think I want to be a reporter or a news anchor and that is not what I wanna do. I really wanna be in the venue and I wanna be hosting the event.
I ended up staying in Minneapolis because I love Minneapolis, but also because there was a great PR firm that offered me a spot. Lo and behold, I got really lucky and because I'd worked with the Gophers for so long, and they had some spots to fill, they asked me to do it. I really think I got really lucky. Not just recently, but I think I got really lucky when I was a freshman and I happened to apply for Gopher Digital Productions and since then, they've taken care of me again and again.
Q: So you applied as a freshman and were accepted right away or were there some hoops you had to jump through?
I applied as a freshman. Going into my freshman year, I knew I would have to have a job on campus. That was a non-negotiable and I saw that Gopher Digital Productions was hiring people. I didn't know what they were doing, but I knew they were doing the broadcast of the sporting events and I was like, "Oh, that'd be really cool."
I applied and I did not get a callback, didn't get an email. I was like, "Oh, I'm gonna get the job." I called the athletic office multiple times every day and I think I got rerouted to the wrong number a few times, but I finally got hold of Tadd Wilson, who was at the time, the live production coordinator, I think. I remember calling him and he was like, "Alright, cool. You can come in and interview."
I went to TCF and I met him there and that was kind of it. When I applied, Gopher Digital Productions was a riff-raff group and we were learning these skills and we didn't really know what was going on. Today, that program has really skyrocketed; every person in that room is so talented, whether it's editing or shooting. They all have these skills that they've pretty much honed since they were middle schoolers, it seems like. I really think I got super lucky.
Q: What's one or two things that people don't see or know about you, seeing you on the sidelines? Or what are some things that you enjoy doing away from your job besides hanging out with MJ?
Allie: My good friends know this, but I really love hosting so much that I love to host parties and things like that. I'm always trying to find a reason why we can all get together and what not. Most recently, I hosted with my roommate, an ugly Christmas sweater themed murder mystery party. We planned for about a month ahead of time and I get really into it, where I'm like, posting on Facebook for my group daily, letting them know who's coming to the party. I'm posting their characters and stuff like that. I really just like getting all my friends together and having a really good time.
Q: When it comes to television production, how much have you learned from doing the Viking Tunnel Show and being around that crew?
Allie: I really feel like I learned a lot of it from Gopher Digital Production and getting to see that background. I'm really thankful that that is my background where it is more TV rather than hosting. When I made the switch to the Vikings, it was pretty easy to get where they were coming from, but Christian Rangel, does all the editing and the shooting and he's really phenomenal. It's really cool to work with him, where he explains through his eyes why we're gonna have a two-shot, why we're gonna have a one-shot, why we're gonna do something a few more times.I'm always fascinated by how editors work, because they see the finished product when you're just shooting one clip and I respect that.
Q: When and why did you develop such a love for Gophers hockey? Was it something that you watched in high school? Or was it mostly when you got on campus? How did you develop that love for Gopher hockey?
Allie: In high school, we have one team made up of the nine surrounding schools. We are not a hockey powerhouse in southern Minnesota at all. When I came here, my closest friend was actually a hockey cheerleader, so I started coming to the games to watch her because she's wildly talented and the figure skaters are amazing. While I was here, I got sucked into the game and the rest is kind of history, but for that first year I was always coming to watch her and throughout the time until we graduated, that was one of the best parts, was getting to see how talented she was.
Also, Gopher hockey was the first opportunity that really threw me a bone. Devin Pacheco was the head of marketing at the time and he said, "We need to fill this role. Are you interested?" And I absolutely jumped at it. Then I think working with Devin was so cool because I'll never forget what he said to us when we were preparing for our first game that season and it really shaped the way that I view all of our games; he said, "Tonight, many of the people that are coming probably had to drive in from far away. It was difficult to get their kids here. The tickets are expensive. When they come in the building, make sure that they know that they're a guest here and that they're welcome here. If there's an experience that you can give somebody, make sure you give them that."
I think that's really stuck with me just because I know how lucky I am to be down by the ice all the time. It's something I do take for granted, so I always try to see, is there an extra promo thing that we can give to some kid or somebody? That really struck me as just who I should be as a host. Then also, I think every time you come to Mariucci, you can't help but look around and notice all the banners are amazing. I love seeing the photo walls. I wish every person that came in here would take the 20 minutes it would take to walk and read everything. It's such a historic program and people who love Gopher hockey, LOVE Gopher hockey. I feel really lucky to be part of it.
Q: What are some other characteristics--besides that energy that you have to bring--that you think is important to being an on-air personality?
Allie: Make sure your off-air personality is the same person. I think it's really important to come across as being authentic and being true to yourself, and that's really when you will find that you're exhausted is when you're filling a role that you're not. I always just try to bring my personality and myself to the game. Sometimes that's a lot harder said than done when the camera's turn on, but that's been great.
Also, just to be really customer service minded and knowing where your place is. Like I mentioned before, I think the most important thing you can do is let every person here know how welcome they are and how happy you are that they came to be part of the fun tonight.
Q: Before we close the interview, is there anything that I didn't ask that you want to tell Gopher fans or tell Vikings fans or tell anyone? Or anything that you want people to know that they don't know about you already?
Allie: I get asked a lot how I got to where I am, and by my peers or people in college and stuff. I think the most important thing for them is to network, and people don't really know what that means, but I implore people like I had to do with Tadd Wilson in order to get my job at Gopher Digital Productions. That's not really a normal thing to do anymore and I feel like a lot of people don't have that really gritty attitude about having something or wanting something and then going to get it.
It was really never a question for me whether or not I was ever gonna work for the Gophers. I always knew I was gonna work for them, I just didn't know how I was gonna get there. I hope that people who are excited about this kind of work know that they can get there, but they also don't get to do the fun and cool glory stuff right away. My freshman year, I really wanted to be a sideline reporter, but I had to learn every position in the control room before I ever even got to touch the microphone. I think that's totally fair and I'm so glad that I had that experience.