His past is not a secret. In fact, he is upfront about it and freely offers to discuss it.
Like it or not, Steve Shannon is now both coach and general manager of the North American Hockey League's Port Huron Fighting Falcons.
The 61-year old Shannon was originally hired earlier this month by Fighting Falcons primary owner Maribeth Hayes to be the team's general manager. Then, after accepting resumes for the team's head coaching position, Shannon -- in agreement with Hayes -- announced on Monday of this week that he would also fill that role.
Thus, Shannon has in effect replaced Bill Warren as coach-general manager of the Fighting Falcons. Warren led Port Huron to a first-place, regular-season finish in the NAHL North Division during the 2011-12 campaign. The Fighting Falcons then went on to sideline the Michigan Warriors and Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings in successive playoff series to advance to the NAHL's Robertson Cup, national championship tournament and Warren was named the league's coach-of-the-year.
But shortly after Port Huron's rags-to-riches season came to an end -- the Fighting Falcons finished with the worst record in the NAHL in 2010-11 as a first-year franchise -- Hayes hired Shannon to replace Warren as general manager. Saying "the writing is on the wall", Warren then resigned as coach and rebuffed subsequent efforts by both Hayes and Shannon to re-consider his decision.
Which, has led Port Huron to where it is now, with Shannon in place as general manager and head coach.
Shannon, a retired Detroit police officer, gained notoriety during the 2004-05 season when, as coach of the erstwhile Motor City Mechanics of the now-defunct United Hockey League, he was suspended by commissioner Richard Brosal for allegedly placing a $200 bounty on the head of an opposing player. Shannon has always maintained his innocence in the matter.
(Brosal, by the way, was commissioner of the UHL for 10 years and under his watch, several franchises folded in mid-season.)
Seven years later, Shannon is still linked to the "bounty" incident, which may explain the eyebrows that were raised and the bells that sounded when Hayes first hired him as GM of the Fighting Falcons and then allowed him to name himself as coach.
When I first talked to Shannon a few weeks ago after he was hired as Port Huron's GM, it was he to brought up the "bounty" incident to me. And Hayes told me that Shannon "was upfront from the start in discussing the matter."
At any rate, the fact of the matter is now this: Shannon is the general manager and head coach of the NAHL's Port Huron Fighting Falcons. As the present is the present, the past should be the past.
Let's give Shannon a chance to try to prove himself before we jump all over him for an alleged incident from his past, some seven years ago.
If he does the job that he was hired to do, he will have earned whatever money it is that Hayes is paying him. If he does not, methinks Hayes will make the appropriate decision and fire him.
Hayes, to be sure, has not hesitated to make major changes in her two full seasons as primary owner of the Fighting Falcons.
She gassed National Hockey League legend Ernie Hicke as coach-general midway through the Fighting Falcons first season, the 2010-11 campaign, and replaced him with Warren (as coach) and Marty Haddad (as GM.) Haddad parted ways with the team before the start of the 2011-12 season and Warren added the GM position to his coaching duties. Now Warren is out and Shannon is in charge.
Without question, Shannon has a big job ahead of him as Warren's replacement.
But Shannon has an advantage over Warren in that the Fighting Falcons will be his main focus. Warren, on the other hand, juggled his full-time job with the City of Port Huron with his Fighting Falcons duties.
One area in which Hayes wants Shannon to improve on is moving players to the National Collegiate Athletic Association level, particularly Division 1.
Only one Fighting Falcon has a D1 deal -- 1994 birth year forward Brett D'Andrea. And it should be noted that D'Andrea -- an Ontario Hockey League draft pick of the Soo Greyhounds -- committed to the Bowling Green University Falcons in the spring of 2011 before he was tendered by Port Huron.
Shannon, when we spoke on Tuesday, returned my call shortly after getting off the phone with 1991 birth year goalie Peter Megariotis.
The 6-foot-2, 200 lb. Megariotis, who helped Port Huron win the NAHL North Division crown with a regular-season record of 19-8-1 to go with a 2.52 goals against average and .905 save percentage, still does not have a college deal in place for the 2012-13 season.
"We're trying to help Peter find a good college to go to and play hockey," said Shannon. "You would think with the season he had that Peter would have a place to play by now."
Hayes was not shy in hiding her displeasure that Megariotis still does not have a commitment for the 2012-13 season with his junior eligibility having expired.
"It's nice to win and it's great that we won a championship in our second season in the NAHL," Hayes said evenly. "But my number one reason for buying an NAHL team was to help players move to the next level. That is and always will be our mandate as long as I am the owner of the Port Huron Fighting Falcons."