Shanahan, Michael Edward 1952- (Mike Shanahan)

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SHANAHAN, Michael Edward 1952-
(Mike Shanahan)


Born August 24, 1952 in Oak Park, IL; married; wife's name Peggy; children: Kyle, Krystal. Education: Eastern Illinois University, earned bachelor's and master's degrees.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, HarperBusiness, 10 East 53rd St., New York, NY 10022.


Professional football coach and writer.


Victor Award for professional football coach, 1999.


(Under the name Mike Shanahan, with Adam Schefter) Think Like a Champion, HarperBusiness (New York, NY), 1999.


Mike Shanahan is a successful National Football League (NFL) coach who has guided the Denver Broncos to several Super Bowl appearances, including two Super Bowl wins. An outstanding high school athlete during his days at Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois, Shanahan earned early honors in the athletic fields of both football and track. He earned a football scholarship to Eastern Illinois University (EIU), where he played quarterback. A hard tackle during the spring game of his junior year at EIU left Shanahan with a split kidney that was removed during emergency surgery. The near-fatal injury put Shanahan into intensive care for five days, but the resilient player was lifting weights within days of his discharge from the hospital, wrote Michael Silver in Sports Illustrated. The injury took Shanahan off the field, and he soon began his coaching career.

Shanahan took his first coaching job with the Oklahoma Sooners in 1975, and helped to lead them to a national championship in his first year. Many years of college-level coaching followed at schools such as Northern Arizona University, the University of Florida, and Shanahan's alma mater, Eastern Illinois University.

In his early NFL career, Shanahan experienced some surprising setbacks. He was fired from the Oakland Raiders in 1989, and was dismissed from the Denver Broncos in 1991 by head coach Dan Reeves, amid accusations that he went around Reeves to work on strategy with quarterback John Elway. Despite these defeats, Shanahan persisted as the offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers from 1992 to 1994 before returning as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 1995. Since then, Shanahan "has quietly emerged as the most powerful presence in his profession," wrote Silver, earning comparisons to legendary coaches such as Chuck Noll, Don Shula, and Vince Lombardi.

In Think Like a Champion, Shanahan brings his winning philosophy from the gridiron to the living rooms and boardrooms of everyday life. Part pep-talk and part insider's look at the NFL, Shanahan offers "aphoristic advice with anecdotes from practice and from big games," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Other reviewers, such as Mark Bodenrader in Sport and Wes Lukowsky in Booklist, criticized the "strained metaphors" (in Bodenrader's words) and "familiar homilies" (noted Lukowsky) used throughout the book. But Shanahan also offers straightforward stories of his experiences with football players and team administrators, creating a book that the Publishers Weekly reviewer called "less interesting for its motivational truisms than for its dishy NFL gossip."



Booklist, September 1, 1999, Wes Lukowsky, review of Think Like a Champion, p. 63.

Entrepreneur, September, 1999, review of Think Like a Champion, p. 154.

Publishers Weekly, August 9, 1999, review of Think Like a Champion, p. 335.

Sport, December, 1999, Mark Bodenrader, review of Think Like a Champion, p. 100.

Sporting News, July 24, 1995, Michael Knisley, profile of Mike Shanahan, pp. 36-38.

Sports Illustrated, November 17, 1997, Michael Silver, "Master Mind," profile of Mike Shanahan, pp. 48-52.


Denver Broncos Web site, (November 21, 2003), biography of Mike Shanahan.*