Award-winning prep writer from San Diego County to write weekly column and provide reports on area players.

Tom Shanahan wants to keep his fingers whirling on a keyboard, writing about top high school teams and athletes in his part of the state, and we couldn't be happier.

Shanahan recently left his job as a prep sportswriter for the San Diego Union-Tribune, giving up the daily grind of that business for a new career in marketing and free-lance writing. He contacted us about serving in some capacity as a San Diego correspondent and it's an offer we couldn't refuse.

Starting next week, Shanahan will produce a weekly column for highlighting athletes, teams and topics from San Diego County. His column also will include predictions of upcoming key games in the section. Shanahan also will provide additional items for some of our regular weekly features, such as State Stat Stars of the Week and Prep Notes With A Twist.

Our San Diego Section correspondent for the last two years, Harold Abend, recently moved back up to Northern California to take a new job in Marin County. Abend will continue to serve as a correspondent for us, but this school year it will be for Marin County as well as the Redwood Empire of the North Coast Section. Bob Barnett will once again provide us with rankings, game reports, stat standouts and record updates from the CIF Central Section.

Shanahan has been covering high school sports (and sports in general) in San Diego for 25 years. He worked for 11 years at the San Diego Union-Tribune and seven years before that at the San Diego Tribune before it merged with the San Diego Union in 1992. Before joining the Tribune, Shanahan worked for 6 1/2 years at the Oceanside Blade-Tribune, now called the North County Times.

A graduate of Michigan State, Shanahan was sports editor of the campus newspaper as a senior when a hot, young basketball player named Earvin "Magic" Johnson came to the school as a freshman in 1977.

"I remember he showed up early when we met at Jenison Field House for my first interview with him before his freshman season," Shanahan said. "I think he thought I was somebody important since I was a senior and he was a freshman."

Shanahan, who in 2002 received a first-place writing award from the San Diego Press Club for a profile of Dr. La Mar Hasbrouck of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, says his favorite athlete from all the years he's covered San Diego preps has been Morse High football player Teddy Lawrence.

But now, because Shanahan will still be writing about San Diego preps for, maybe another favorite athlete will emerge.

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