Shannon Calnan quietly had an outstanding career in the Lynn English High School basketball program.
Surrounded by such high profile players as Catherine Stinson, Diondra Woumn and Janicia Duggins, Calnan, a three-year starter and two-year captain, helped the Lady Bulldogs win three Northeastern Conference championships.
“Shannon accomplished some pretty special things in our program such as winning more than 70 games over the past four years,” said head coach Fred Hogan. “This season she was our only captain and that’s the first time we ever did that. Her leadership skills were unbelievable and she was just a solid all-around player.”
Calnan was a vital component of the Bulldogs’ ongoing status as an NEC powerhouse. She did the victory-producing things on the court that don’t always show up in the box score but coaches notice when they watch the game films.
Kerry Calnan, Shannon’s mother who helped organized the season-ending awards banquet, speaks about her daughter’s achievements in the basketball program with considerable parental pride.
“I’m just so proud of her,” said Kerry Calnan. “Shannon has come a long way from a shy girl to being a great student and a great kid. It was a great four years.” Calnan said her daughter inherited her athletic talent from her father, John, who at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, was a power forward for a championship Lynn English boys basketball team, graduating in 1984. Their son, Patrick, played basketball at St. Mary’s, while daughter, Rachel, will be entering the English girls program this winter. Jack Calnan, their 11-year-old, is also an up and coming athlete.
“My husband was a great athlete – they certainly didn’t get it from me, or the height,” Kerry Calnan said, smiling.
When Hogan introduced Shannon for the award presentations at the banquet, he told the gathering, “This is one of the greatest kids I’ve ever coached in my life. She’s going to Merrimack College next year and we just wish her the best.”
Calnan’s popularity was evident among her teammates as he received the loudest ovation of the night.
“Shannon is a great role model and I know she’ll do well in college,” said Stinson, one of four captains of next year’s squad. “I’m inspired by her leadership. I feel I can play a good part and try to do the same things she did as a captain. She did a great job.”
Calnan described the awards banquet as “very bittersweet.”
“I’m happy about everything I’ve done but I’m sad to go, but I know the team will still do well without me.”
Calnan, who stands 5 feet, 9 ½ inches tall, played basketball at the Sisson and Pickering Schools and for St. Pius CYO. She excelled so much for the English freshman team coached by Rachael Bradley that Hogan moved right up to the varsity, skipping junior varsity entirely.
Calnan said she was inspired by her father to take up basketball and make a commitment to the sport.
“My father has been my motivation to play basketball – he’s the reason I do it,” said Calnan. “The game I’ll remember most at English is the one that my coach dedicated to my father in his battle against cancer. It was just so nice. I couldn’t thank coach Hogan enough. My father is fine now, which is great. And I can’t say enough about my mom – she’s the best.”
A two-year varsity softball player, Calnan completed her career with an appearance in the Agganis Softball All-Star Classic, having also received a Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development (LHAND_scholarship to complement other achievement awards.
Calnan said she received a first-class education at Lynn English High School.
“All the teachers and faculty taught me so much,” said Calnan. “It was strict and you had to work hard to excel, but I know it was worth it in the long run.”