Don Shane undoubtedly had one at a TV station with a reputation for having prominent people. Yet his capacity to concentrate on the fundamentals of good journalism—telling the audience something they don’t know and telling it like it is—made him popular with WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) viewers.
“He changed the way I viewed to do my job, just by watching him,” said Tom Leyden, who succeeded Shane as the sports director at WXYZ, Metro Detroit’s ABC affiliate. “So many of us tried to find the perfect word or flowery prose. He was just so great at saying, ‘Just talk to the people.'”
“He was a great mentor.”
Shane passed away on Friday night, 24 Feb 2023 at his home in California. He began working as a sportscaster for WXYZ in 1989, covering many significant events in Detroit and Michigan sports history. He was 70.
Although Shane, who retired in 2012, had been unwell lately, no cause of death was given by WXYZ. He passed away with Justin and Lindsay by his side. With his first grandson, whom he welcomed in May of last year, he is also survived by his wife of 38 years, Mona.
While working at WXYZ, Shane covered numerous championships, including three NBA championships for the Pistons, four Stanley Cup victories for the Red Wings, the Rose Bowl, the Super Bowl at Ford Field, the Ryder Cup in 2004, the Tigers’ comeback, including the 2006 World Series, and even prize fights in Las Vegas.
Shane had “Dare Don,” where he would take part in various challenges, all recorded on camera, in contrast to a rival sportscaster known for his blooper portions.
Shane suffered three broken ribs while filming an encounter with Lions legend Chris Spielman.
WXYZ said in a statement announcing his death Saturday–
“He joined Channel 7 in 1989 – and was on hand for so many hugely important events over the years. The many championships – but also the heart-breaking defeats – all while showcasing the drama and emotion of the moment for our viewers.”
“No one worked harder than Don. He broke stories and earned the respect of athletes and coaches in this town with his preparation and professionalism.”
“He loved what he did — and that joy came right through the screen into your homes.”
“We’ll miss you, Don. Our thoughts are with his entire family at this difficult time.”
Bo Schembechler’s illness at the station’s Southfield studios in 2006, while Shane was interviewing the former Michigan football coach, was one of the worst times of his career.
Schembechler passed away the day before No. 2 Michigan played at No. 1 Ohio State. Shane shared a close working relationship with Schembechler, Sparky Anderson, and Chuck Daly, among many others, in the Detroit sports scene. Before Anderson passed away in 2010, Shane spoke with him for one last time. Anderson was the great Tigers manager.
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Shane worked at stations in Boston and Chicago before moving to WXYZ, where he joined well-known figures like Bill Bonds (with whom he frequently engaged in amusing on-air sparring).
He received numerous accolades from the Associated Press and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters during his time at WXYZ and 23 Michigan Emmy Awards. He also worked as a play-by-play announcer for the Pistons, Michigan State, and Michigan.
“I’ve been really blessed,” Shane said when he announced his retirement in February 2012; his last day on the air was March 20, 2012. “The things I’ve been able to see and do have far exceeded my expectations.”
That was crucial: Shane observed a lot. Shane wanted to be out in the field, according to current WXYZ sports writer Brad Galli, but many journalists like to split their time between the office and the scene or perhaps lean more toward the office.
When Galli first met Shane, he was an intern at WXYZ for two years — the anchors would pay for the dinners, and the unpaid interns would fly (pick them up), according to Galli — and then joined Shane as a coworker.
On February 26, 2023, Brad Galli posted a Tweet on his official Twitter account-
“Don Shane took Detroit sports fans inside the biggest events for decades. As we mourn his death at the age of 70, we also celebrate his legacy. Dave LewAllen joined us to discuss Don’s impact on Detroit sports fans and their favorite players.”
Don Shane took Detroit sports fans inside the biggest events for decades. As we mourn his death at the age of 70, we also celebrate his legacy.
Dave LewAllen joined us to discuss Don's impact on Detroit sports fans and their favorite players. @tvnewzguy pic.twitter.com/wQ241BJqUH
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) February 25, 2023
Galli recalls his first job, recording the video and writing the prose from a Tigers game. He brought it back to the studio, where Shane watched it and said:
“We can’t run this on the air.”
Galli claimed that Shane focused on bringing fans the news they couldn’t find. After arriving home from the Tigers’ spring training in Lakeland, Florida, Galli contended on Saturday that he had never had another story, not air.
“He was the guy I wanted to be like. He shaped my path in life and the path of so many people that passed through that sports department at Channel 7,” Galli said. “Then I got to work with him, and I quickly wanted to be more like him on TV, but I wanted to be like the man that Don Shane was.”
“It’s a busy life working in sports and TV, but he always talked about his kids and what family meant to him. He always did his best to make it work.”
“I learned that the most.”
On February 26, 2023, Brad Galli shared a tweet that paid tribute to Don Shane-
Paying tribute to Don Shane: his wife Mona joined us to remember our longtime sports director.
Diana Lewis, Robbie Timmons, @jimbrandstatter, @ccliffordwxyz, and @tvnewzguy all shared perspective on what made Don special. pic.twitter.com/pK1HgBuwt3
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) February 26, 2023
Leyden and Shane’s business partnership, which lasted from 2004 until Shane’s retirement, didn’t last forever, but their friendship did. Leyden has two children and recalls seeing Shane make their live television birth announcements.
“He went out of his way to make everyone feel special,” Leyden said. “He did that for so many people.”
Tom Leyden shared a Tweeet on 25 february 2023 and wrote-
“Don was 70 years old. My heart is with Mona, Justin and Lindsay and all the Shanes during this sad time, along with my Channel 7 family. Soak in the love knowing Don’s love changed the world.”
“When Don retired from WXYZ in 2012, we gathered the thoughts of many of Detroit’s top sports figures. Don Shane was respected by everybody.”
detroitnews.com is the official source of the given information.