By Alicia Dziak
If you live in Springville, chances are you know the Hannons. Whether it’s through Michael Hannon Sr.’s excavating and landscaping business, the gym they own, Springville Health and Fitness, or through their involvement in the community, they are familiar names and faces. And Springville sports fans know the Hannons are synonymous with SGI football.
Michael Jr., graduating in June, is the youngest Hannon boy of his generation in his immediate family. During his tenure as a Griffin, he played center and defensive tackle. “My family is very dedicated to the (SGI football) program. My uncle played, my Dad, and my brothers, Brett, Shea and Patrick also all played for Springville,” he said. “If there was one thing I learned from all of them, it’s that nothing is ever just handed to you. You’re gonna have to work for it and make sure you’re working harder than the guy across from you.”
Although Michael Jr. and Patrick were only two grades apart in school, they only played one snap together as Griffins, a televised playoff game, which was Michael Jr.’s first time stepping onto the field as a varsity player.
Wearing purple and gold seems to be in the Hannon blood, and not quite ready to say goodbye to it, Michael Jr. plans to continue wearing it, playing D-3 football as an Alfred University Saxon in the fall, joining his brother Patrick (who graduated from SGI in 2016), on the field and on the campus.
Michael Jr. is not only following in the footsteps of his brother Patrick, but also in the footsteps of his dad, as well as his older brother, Brett, who also both attended and played football for Alfred.
“There were a lot of reasons why I decided that Alfred University was the best fit for me, but I believe the biggest was it already felt like home,” said Michael Jr. of his decision to go there. “It was somewhere that I knew I would love for the next four years. I already was known as a legacy in Alfred because of my dad playing and my brothers Brett and Patrick and now it’s my turn.”
Michael Jr. will be majoring in Business Administration, where he hopes to one day take over the family business. “Alfred’s business school is top of line and they I really look forward to learning new ideas and strategies from them,” Michael Jr. said.
“I decided to attend Alfred University because it really does feel like home here,” Patrick agreed. “Everyone really does care how you do, both in the classroom, and on the field. I chose to major in Accounting after taking a course in high school with Mr. Wikman, and (upon) further discovery, it was the right choice while in my second semester here at AU.”
Patrick, who plays guard on the offensive line for the Saxons, explained that going from high school to college football was a bit of a change. “College ball is in many ways different from high school. So much time goes into football as well as classes every week, and the balance that must be found between school and athletics was the biggest adjustment I have found,” he said. “However, similarities still exist. I have found that even though there are 100 + kids on the team, the aspect of family is as strong as any other team I have been on, and I really thought I wouldn’t be able to find that again after leaving high school.”
Patrick noted that the sense of teamwork was something important he brought with him from the high school field to the college field: “I have found that the ability and the willingness to work together to accomplish a greater goal is essential especially in the game of football.”
As the “big brother,” Patrick said, “When I heard that Michael had fully committed to AU, I was excited. When he first began his search for colleges, the last thing I was thinking was that he and I would be going to the same school. I didn’t really make it known at first that I wanted him to come to AU, but as things drew closer, I made it known that I thought it would be a once in a lifetime experience for us, and I am glad he made the right choice.”
As Michael Jr. heads to college, he will bring with him to college a strong support system.
“My biggest role models have always been my parents,” Michael Jr. said. “They have been through thick and thin with me and they are always there to keep a smile on my face. They helped so much with our team, whether it was for fundraising to get new and better things for us to use, or just going out to wings every Friday and them pitching in. They truly are the best parents I could ever ask for.”
He went on to compliment the SGI coaching staff. “Coach Eric Janzi is one of the best coaches I will ever get to play for— he has always had the kids working hard but it was always fun. He always had our backs as did we for him and he truly was a huge part to why I love the game so much,” Michael Jr. said. “As for Coach Rob Valenti, he is the definition of dedication. He will help you no matter the shape or size you are and no matter how good you are—he is committed to this game and he is committed to the program that will be back on the map when he is done with it….To every single one of my coaches, thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in to help kids like me really love this sport.”
Patrick echoes much of his younger brother’s sentiment. “I would consider my greatest strength to be the coaching I have received through Springville during my career there,” he said. “I know I would not be where I am today without the help of the excellent coaches I have had.”
Michael Jr. will also bring important lessons learned while at SGI to his freshman year. “The lessons I have learned on and off the field that I will bring to college is no obstacle is too big, meaning you can overcome anything you put your mind to and never give up no matter the outcome, because you will just come back even stronger,” he said. “And also don’t let your brother push you around now that we’re the same size!”
As for brotherly advice? “The biggest advice I have to offer Michael, and any athlete attending college next year, is that time management is key,” Patrick said. “I know it sounds cliché, but working out everyday as well as practicing takes a huge toll on your body, both mentally and physically. It is so important that you have your priorities straight, and you devote as much time to your studies as you do football.”