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MSU Profiles

Linnell still relishes telling a story

Michael Linnell, assistant athletic director for communication and media relations, joined Minot State University as the first full-time sports information director Jan. 5, 2010. He was promoted to his current position in October 2015.

Linnell spent five and a half years with the Minot Daily News as a photographer, sports writer and, for the final four years with the newspaper, the sports editor. He was the Beavers beat writer for five years, covering MSU at the NAIA Division II Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments, the NAIA Football Championships and an NAIA Regional Golf Championship. The Sunburst, Mont., native was the Valley City Times-Record's sports editor for two years and worked four years at the Grand Forks Herald. He graduated from the University of North Dakota in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in communication. A veteran of multiple state and regional tournaments, Linnell's newspaper highlight was covering The Masters at Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Ga., three times.

"I thought I was going to be the last great newspaperman," Linnell remembered. "But as the newspaper industry shrunk, and management took more and more things from us, I looked elsewhere."

As assistant athletic director for communication and media relations, Linnell is responsible for Minot State athletics' public relations and media operations and is the webmaster for He also supervises graduate assistants. This year, he added the responsibility of emceeing the Noon Luncheons.

"This job fits my strengths, even if it means long hours and constantly meeting deadlines," Linnell said. "It feeds my two passions, storytelling and photography. I write to tell stories, but now my storytelling may be more verbal or through social media. I also love photography, even if it takes me to the Dome's catwalk. I have a fear of heights, but for some reason, I can lean over the catwalk's edge with a camera."

Linnell is a member of the Minot State Marketing Team and was elected to Staff Senate in 2015, where he serves on its Bylaws and Legislative, Public Relations and Staff Senate Scholarship committees. Linnell has twice been an adjunct faculty member at Minot State University, teaching a course in media and public relations writing. He loves the collaborative nature of higher education and likes to contribute and make an impact.

"Everyone comes with different talents and perspectives, and everyone can feed off of others' energy," Linnell said. "I have ideas coming in, that's how my brain works. I will blurt out an idea, decide it's a bad idea and mentally throw it away; then I will come up with another idea, decide it's good and put it in the ‘good idea box.'"

Linnell is dedicated to Minot State University.

"I've worked hard here," Linnell stated. "When I was at the Minot Daily, I poured my heart and soul into the region and became ‘a Minot man.' Now, I have become ‘an MSU man.' I only have ties to MSU; Nichole, my wife, and I attend MSU events, and our son, Cooper, loves the Beavers."

Linnell is an active member in the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). He was appointed as a district coordinator for the Fred Stabley, Sr. writing contest in 2014 and has served as a regional coordinator for the Daktronics Men's Basketball All-America Team and the USBWA women's basketball poll, sponsored by D2SIDA. He was a long-time member of the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and was elected as the organization's president in 2009. He has won a North Dakota Newspaper Association top award in both photography and column writing.

The perpetual writer's passion for creativity will continue long into the future.

"I want to continue writing, but to branch out into other forms, like writing a script," Linnell related. "We live in that kind of world, in an age where we can be constantly creative and have a venue for it."