Swimmer Shannon Hogan making splash in TV
(December 15, 2010) From Connecticut to California, Shannon Hogan has lived in towns big and small across the United States. But joining Fox Sports Detroit – and returning to Northville – means coming home for Hogan, the newest member of the cable sports channel's reporting team.
"Wherever I've been, I think of Northville, of my home," Hogan said. "That's where my family is."
By that, she means her mother, Donna, father, Joe, and younger brother, Joey.
"They're my best friends, my biggest fans."
Northville is also the place where she earned All-American and state championship honors as a high school swimmer specializing in the 50- and 100- meter freestyle.
"She was a really fierce competitor and a good leader," Northville High Athletic Director Bryan Masi said. "Her era here was a real high point for girls swimming."
For Hogan, the memories are still fresh.
"The thing I remember most is that we built a program at Northville High," Hogan said. "In the beginning, it was just a few girls up against (Ann Arbor) Pioneer and (Farmington Hills) Mercy," she said in reference to the two longtime swim powerhouses. "But we showed them what we could do."
Now, she'll have the chance to show a big city audience what she can do.
The chance to come home, especially this early in her broadcasting career, thrills the 25-year-old to no end.
"To work for a great network, to work in one of the best sports cities in America and to come home, it's really the best of all possible worlds," Hogan said.
Donna Hogan said the family is "over the moon" about Shannon's return.
"When your daughter is a collegiate swimmer like Shannon was, you don't get to see her much so this is really a big thrill, not just for us but for all her friends," Donna Hogan said.
Due to her father's career demands, Hogan's family moved several times when she was young. She was born in Syracuse, NY, and lived in suburban Connecticut, Atlanta and Tulsa, OK, before settling in Northville.
Hogan began her Fox Sports duties on Dec. 1 and has already been a rink-side reporter during college hockey broadcasts. That included Saturday's "Big Chill at the Big House," the record-setting outdoor hockey match between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University at Michigan Stadium.
She'll also be seen on Tigers Weekly and Wingspan, FSD's magazine shows about the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings.
"I think Shannon will be a wonderful storyteller for us," FSD Executive Producer John Tuohey said. "She has a terrific reporting sense and a very good camera presence."
Being familiar with the state's sporting scene doesn't hurt, either.
"We're a sports cable channel for people in Michigan presented by people from Michigan and she certainly fits in with that," he said.
Despite her swimming background, Hogan said she's always been a closet hockey fan – literally.
Her replica jersey of Red Wings great Brendan Shanahan remained in the closet during her recent stint with television stations in Salinas, CA."It's not the kind of thing you could wear out there," she admitted.
If her stint in northern California left her a little homesick, it also provided for some memorable encounters, especially for a one-woman broadcast team. There was the time she "stalked" Super Bowl champion Tom Brady during his round at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which traditionally kicks off the professional golf season.
"I wanted to get an interview with him so badly," Hogan said of the former U-M star.
Sensing an opportunity, she spotted Brady's father in the crowd. She introduced herself and accompanied Papa Brady as he offered hole-by-hole help to his famous son.
Finally, the big moment arrived.
"He was surrounded by media but he wanted to talk to me," Hogan recalled. "He said, 'She's been stalking me for nine holes, it's the least I can do.' "
An academic All-American and broadcast journalism major at the University of Missouri and captain and MVP of the university women's swim team, Hogan isn't usually star struck by fellow athletes.
With Hollywood types, it can be a little different.
Leading man Josh Duhamel – husband of pop star Fergie – also holds a place in Hogan's memory bank.
"Though we'd just met, and there were other reporters around, I remember him asking 'Where's my girl Shannon?' Flattered but undaunted, she got the interview – and an unexpected hug.
Engaging yet determined, Hogan said she caught the broadcasting bug early on. When I was just little, I told my parents that I'd be Katie Couric," she said.
Her first big break came when the Fox Sports affiliate in Dallas was looking for someone to cover women's swimming for a show spotlighting the Big 12 Conference.
"I got the job and I'd swim, dry off, do my reporting then hop back in the pool again," Hogan said.
After graduation, Hogan covered sports and hard news for CBS and Fox affiliates in Salinas, CA, a city of roughly 145,000.
With 14 murders and one violent crime for roughly every 800 people in 2007 alone, according to U.S. Department of Justice figures, there was plenty of hard news to cover.
The wildest story, she said, came this fall while covering the San Francisco Giants first World Series victory.
"It was crazy, electric," Hogan said of the scene outside the AT&T Park. "We didn't have (World Series) credentials. So we had to be creative. I called some kayakers over for interviews and even had a guy offer to take me around McCovey Cove (a part of San Francisco Bay abutting the ballpark) by boat."
Back home in Northville, she's looking forward to quieter times.
She said old friends will probably be able to spot her at Joseph's Coney Island, especially after Sunday Mass.
"That's the place where my family always hangs out," she said. "I feel really blessed to be able to do that once again."
A Christmastime reunion is in the works, as her brother will be returning from his new job in China.
"It's going to be great having both of our children together for the holidays," Donna Hogan said.
If a World Series repeat is in the cards, so much the better.
Read more at the Northville Patch where this story was originally published.
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