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Hannon to take helm of United Way

Published: Thu, August 14, 2008 @ 12:01 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN — His enthusiasm and his level of research into the job at the local and national levels were key to the hiring of Robert Hannon, sports director at WYTV, as the new president and chief professional officer of the Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way.

William Bresnahan, chairman of the United Way Board of Directors, said Hannon was chosen from among some two dozen applicants and five semifinalists.

Hannon, who will take over Sept. 1 for Donald Cagigas, will be paid $75,000 a year. Cagigas announced his retirement earlier in the year.

Hannon has been sports director at WYTV since 1988 and the play-by-play voice of Youngstown State University football since 1989. He previously worked in radio in New Castle, Pa., and Atlantic City, N.J. He is a graduate of New Castle, Pa., High School and Slippery Rock University. He and his wife, Beth, and three children, Craig, Noelle, and Melinda, live in New Castle, but plan to move to Mahoning County.

While he has not served on the United Way board of directors or staff, he has hosted several Rally for the Valley events, a United Way fundraiser; and he learned Cagigas was leaving and became interested in the job at last January’s rally.

Hannon said he researched the job intensely for six months, talking to United Way leaders across the country and meeting with local community leaders to find out what they like and don’t like about United Way, before pitching his ideas to the United Way search committee.

He said he plans to use his connections in sports, particularly in the National Football League, for which the United Way is the preferred charity, to bring in sports celebrities for fund-raising activities.

“I want to tap into the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cleveland Browns connections, and perhaps set up a free football camp for community kids using NFL connections from the community,” he said.

“I’m going to shoot for a Brady Quinn or a Ben Roethlisberger for our Champions Among Us dinner. I think we can do it,” he said.

Hannon said he is coming in with a different background and plans to be more public and visible than past United Way heads.

He acknowledged that he doesn’t have previous experience for this type of job. But he said, “It’s more than going out and getting donors. It’s about building relationships. I think a lot of it is common sense and building relationships and trust.”

He said fundraising, marketing and strategic planning are the three areas he intends to focus on to begin with.



1alliergauche(3 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

I'm with Grump. I also refuse to support anything led by Hannon. He is a self-serving sportscaster for the lowest rated TV station in the area. He force fed us Westminster basketball highlights for four years instead of more attractive, relatable local sports because his son was on the team.

Must be nice to get a $75,000 job merely by showing some enthusiasm and researching it. I wonder how much of that research took place on the job. Probably alot since WYTV's ratings haven't improved in the last six months, never mind the last six years.

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2YtownBuckeye29(2 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

Maybe if you guys weren't so blind.....

Hannon was by far the best sportcaster this valley has seen in years and about the Westminster highlights...what would you rather see...Westminster College's all time leading scorer (which his son now is) or the 4-22 YSU Penguins getting smashed by Butler.

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3youngstowngal(2 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

Ok, now there's a good reason to hire him as the President of a non-profit organization designed to meet the needs of Youngstown! Enthusiasm, researched the job, that's the best reason for hiring him that they can come up with? What about non-profit experience, understanding community needs, knowledge of existing programs and services, y'know those minor little things that the United Way provides. Shame on them, he should have stuck to sportscasting and they should have kept their focus in sight.

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4alliergauche(3 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

What would you rather see...Westminster College's all time leading scorer (which his son now is) or the 4-22 YSU Penguins getting smashed by Butler.

Easy; the 4-22 YSU Penguins getting smashed by a NCAA top-20 team. You're leaning into my point; he promoted his son (which you obviously fall under the few who have an interest) instead of something that many more are interested in. I'd be ticked if YSU upset Butler and WYTV showed Westminister highlights over YSU or had no highlights.

He's a Western PA guy which explains his PA bias on coverage, but it doesn't justify it. WYTV is to blame for empowering him to promote that at the expense of lower ratings.

That same bias, IMO, doesn't portray him as someone who has an idea how to help the MAHONING Valley, not Shenango.

If he pulled off a free football camp with Quinn or Roethlisberger, that would be impressive. But who or how would that benefit the Mahoning Valley? How would money be raised? Isn't that their mission and objective; to help the Mahoning Valley?

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5YtownBuckeye29(2 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

Show me one tape where WYTV Sports had Westminster highlights instead of or ahead of YSU highlights. If you can find that tape then maybe you should be the head of the United Way because you might be able to pull things right out of your behind. You guys bash his PA bias, but you neglect the fact that he is constantly showing Ohio State stuff and also neglect the fact that the Steelers or whoever else in PA have been more successful until late. I am a huge Indians and Browns fan, but hell I wouldn't watch them.....The United Way will do wonders with Bob Hannon....I can guarantee it. Oh and the day YSU upsets Butler, someone like you will be running United Way because the world will be close to an end.

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