Tom Shanahan is an award-winning sportswriter and author whose books focus on Michigan State’s football program leading college football integration. College Football Hall of Fame coach Duffy Daugherty 1960s rosters were college football’s first fully integration teams.
His 2022 story on the Rose Bowl, Alabama and segregation won first place from the Football Writers of Association of America.
Shanahan’s first book, RAYE OF LIGHT, Jimmy Raye, Duffy Daugherty, the Integration of College Football and the 1965-66 Michigan State Spartans, focused on the Daugherty’s back-to-back national championship teams. The Foreword was written by Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy.
His second book, THE RIGHT THING TO DO, The True Pioneers of College Football Integration in the 1960s, explains how Daugherty’s former assistant coaches and players followed his blueprint as head coaches to spread his fingerprints coast to coast. Their influence opened doors for the first Black players to integrate programs in the South and brought about the end of unwritten quotas limiting Black athletes to a half-dozen or so at USC and other schools. The Foreword was written by former East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill, who was inspired by Jimmy Raye to enter coaching.
He also has written a children’s book, BUBBA’S DAD, DUFFY AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL’S UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. The story explains how players throughout the segregated South traveled to Michigan State as their North Star for opportunity.
The author grew up in Big Rapids and graduated from Michigan State University. He is a frequent guest on The Drive with Jack, a sports show based in Lansing, Michigan, and has often appeared on WRAL’s The Adam Gold Show in Raleigh, N.C.
Shanahan spent the bulk of his sports writing career in San Diego covering NCAA Tournaments, Super Bowls, Rose Bowls, the NBA Finals and Worlds Series. His favorite high school event was the California track and field finals that featured many future Olympians. He also was a host for a San Diego County Office of Education cable TV show, “School and Sports Stars.”
Other awards include Distinguished American Award from the San Diego Chapter of the College Football Hall of Fame, the President’s Award from the San Diego Chapter of USA Track and Field, the Bud Dyer Award from the Southern California Interscholastic Football Coaches Association, first place in the Copley News Service Ring of Truth Awards and multiple first-place awards from the San Diego Press Club.
In addition to stories and videos on his website, TomShanahan.Report, his articles in recent years have appeared in the National Football Foundation’s Football Matters, Detroit Free Press, Raleigh News & Observer, Honolulu Star Advertiser, All-Sports Discussion. His sports column at the Voice of San Diego was instrumental to growing readership when alternative website Voice of San Diego was launched in 2004. His work also has been in NFL.com, MLB.com, Chargers.com and Rivals.com.