Parick Shannon

© Copyright 2023 by Patrick Shannon

Denton High School, Denton High School, fight on for your fame.

Show the world your qualities and hoist your noble name, Rah-Rah-Rah...

Denton High School, Denton High School, spread your colors far.

True sons and daughters were from Denton High, Rah-Rah!”

Illustration provided by the author.
Illustration  provided by the author.

In January 1979, three Eastern Montana boys and I were playing foosball at 8-Ball Billiards in Missoula. While slapping away at the hardened sphere, a heated discussion ensued. Who was the better Montana Class C basketball player at that time? Junior Doug Selvig from Outlook or my childhood friend, senior Doug Pemberton from Denton. Looking back, the 6’4” Selvig built an amazing basketball resume while the 5’7” sharpshooter amassed some daunting statistics that stood the test of time. My three college friends were clueless regarding Pemberton, and to me, Selvig was just another family member in a great lineage of Outlook and University of Montana standouts. My defense fell short in convincing the other three, and as it turned out, both ‘Doug’s’ found success; one, inside the basketball world, and the other, outside.

Many young men proudly wore the blue-and-white, Trojan logo on their uniforms throughout the 1900s and 2000s, but only a few left behind records to conquer and legacies to rival. In small-town America, the school’s ball teams garnered most of the attention, and their supporters vicariously relived their playing days during each sporting season; Denton, Montana, was no exception.

During my childhood and teenage years, this closed-knit community relied solely on farming, ranching, and the Milwaukee Railroad as its major source of income. The railroad helped establish Denton, and it eventually evolved into its major grain transporter. The town, which settled along the spur line that connected Lewistown to Great Falls, housed some four hundred people, four grain elevators, three gas stations and churches, two bars, a hardware and grocery store, a farmers’ co-operative, post office, library/city hall, café, fire station, and farm implement dealership.

Local businesses and residences occupied both sides of the main street, which ran east-west, and vice versa, through town. At its most eastern end, the town’s park provided all the entertainment for any child to enjoy: A swimming pool, baseball and softball diamonds, a playground, and a hardcourt for the basketball and tennis enthusiasts.

Doug Pemberton was just an adolescent when his parents -- Dick and Rita -- moved to Denton in the mid-1960s. His father worked for Montana Power as a lineman; he serviced a 50+ mile radius of territory which kept him on call, 24-7. His mother took care of Doug, his younger brother Larry of two years, and later his sister Jodi while also teaching Special and Regular Education in the Geraldine and Denton School Districts.

I vividly remember meeting Doug at his fourth birthday party. I was seven, but, unfortunately for me, we stood the same height. During that party, we played and rough-housed, and immediately started a life-long friendship…but not to the chagrin of our mothers, though.

Rita and my mom rightfully felt that the age difference would, over time, become problematic. So, they initially banned us from playing with each other. However, as much as they tried, Doug, and later Larry, and I prevailed!

We lived too close to each other, and the city park and other neighbors’ basketball courts provided a refuge from their hawkish eyes. They even tried grounding us but having their little guys under foot all the time wore on them as well.

So, our mothers devised ground rules which allowed us to “lawfully” hang out again. Without knowing it at the time, we learned valuable lessons like following rules and understanding consequences to behavior. Yet, the ole adage of, boys will be boys played out as well.

The mighty Trojans were traditionally competitive in basketball during the 1970s. However, only one basketball team made it to the Montana state tournament. Suffice it to say, though, seven basketball teams earned berths in the Northern Divisional tournament. One placed second in 1970, another a semi-finalist in 1978, and a third finished fourth in 1979. Only two squads won district championships, and two others finished as co-conference titleholders.

In defense of the Trojans’ unheralded number of state appearances, 120-150 Class C teams and 14-16 conferences existed then. Officials seeded teams in their district tournament based on their final, regular-season standings. Then, two and sometimes three squads earned a spot in the eight-team, Northern Divisional tourney, and each champion and runner-up in the four divisions went on to compete at the state level.

So, these obstacles made it difficult to advance in Montana’s lowest sports’ classification. It took good coaching, skilled players, some depth, and inevitable luck. Unfortunately, smaller schools usually lacked the numbers needed to compete at a high level throughout their regular season, let alone three, competitive tournaments. Most rosters consisted of one or two true basketball talents and the remainder comprised of athletic, role players. Additionally, losing a key member normally ended any squad’s hopes and dreams.

Our friendship revolved around a basketball, baseball, and football. As we aged, most summer days found us competing in unorganized games that included other town kids. As was the case, though, Doug always competed against older boys, some three years his senior.

These games, to put it mildly, grew into very rough-and- tumble affairs. Winning, and sometimes survival, required a thick skin, an ironclad mentality, and dry tear ducts. Surprisingly, Doug fended for himself quite well. He learned to channel his emotions, and over time, he acclimated himself to the physicality of play.

However, it took his parents some time to adjust, especially when he returned home with a bruising, bleeding torso and/or head. Rita and Dick were concerned with the size and age differences, but not Doug; he continued to compete, and over the course of each summer break, he improved his game immensely, especially in basketball.

Then, during our adolescent years’ winter months, we devised makeshift, indoor, basketball courts in my basement and the garage. Tennis and rubber balls replaced the regulation-sized basketball. Doug and I spent hours trying to incorporate our NBA heroes’ moves like Wilt Chamberlain’s finger roll, Jerry West’s jump shot, Julius Irving’s baseline reverse dunk, Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s hook shot, and Pistol Pete Maravich’s no-look passes.

When the snow melted, we put our new moves to the test at the grade school’s outdoor court. This rectangularly-shaped, cement slab allowed no more than six kids to play at one time. We dribbled, passed, and shot a volleyball-sized, rubber ball, and if not fully inflated, we relentlessly tried to palm, cup, and slam it through the six-foot-tall cylinder. If accomplished? We strutted around like professional superstars! If unsuccessful? We endured vast amounts of badgering and teasing!

When Denton’s baby boomers entered their school-aged years, student numbers grew to pre-WWII sizes. A 1952-renovated, brick building accommodated the 9-12 high school, 7-8 junior high, and first-sixth elementary classrooms. It also included the library, cafeteria, gymnasium, and locker rooms. Then, due to this “boom,” the completion of a Vo-tech building and a newly constructed gym and library occurred in 1967.

With the hiring of coaches Bob Luoma, Dale Berry, John Hertel, and Dennis Davis, the boys’ basketball program found itself in good hands as well. In 1962, 1965-1973, and 1977-1979, the Trojans earned a Northern Divisional berth. The 1970 squad placed the highest and eventually competed in the state tournament.

I first realized Doug’s basketball potential as an early teenager. We played one-on-one and shot continuously at my newly attached basket and backboard on our garage. He grew taller than me and his ballhandling skills and shooting range surpassed mine as well.

Additionally, his uncanny ability to score amazed me. Before Doug fully developed, he read basketball books and tirelessly worked on his form and release.

I practiced by laying on the floor and making sure I made a perfect U from my hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and head,” he said. “[Then, I’d place my] fingertips on the ball -- no palm lifts from shoulder -- extend elbow, and flick wrist for follow through.”

After turning 14 in the summer of 1972, I biked by Doug’s house to work in the mornings and then returned home in the evenings. Inevitably, he was outside tirelessly shooting, rebounding his shot, dribbling to another spot, and reloading for another round. His form and release never deviated. Plus, when he tired with one hand, he switched to the other.

During our free time, the two of us played shooting games like H-O-R-S-E, 21, and SPOTS. Plus, competitive and time-consuming, one-on-one matchups to ten -- scoring by one and winning by two -- always occurred. Neither of us dominated the other, which only enhanced our trash talking and friendship.

From 1960-1979, Denton’s basketball program featured a plethora of home-grown talent that displayed a captivating flair and creative artistry. These players possessed vast amounts of skill and coordination and evolved into true craftsmen on the court.

Jim Carlstrom, Rob and Jerry Ridgeway, Jack Kingsbury, Tom Carter, Cliff Edwards, and Larry Lucas were quick, skillful guards who consistently scored in double figures and created havoc for many defenses. Kingsbury, though, captivated fans in the mid-60s with his behind-the-back and no-look passes and ability to dribble between-the-legs and around-the-back. His creative artistry, which perplexed opponents and officials, alike, was truly trailblazing, to say the least.

Randy Boling, Micky Charvat, Jim Cercle, Vance Todd, Wayne Edwards, and Royal Melton exhibited a repertoire of offensive gifts as well. Boling and Charvat possessed an uncanny, scoring ability around the perimeter. On the other hand, Cercle and Melton scored at will inside the key with their fully-extended, fluid releases.

The burly, physical Edwards and Todd led Denton to a seventh, consecutive, divisional run in 1971 by accurately owning the deep corner shots. When given the time, Todd’s picture-perfect jump shot seemed to ‘tickle the twine’ more so than naught, while Edwards amassed the most varsity experience of any Trojan ever. He started and played all four years of high school ball, and without a doubt, went down as one of the best, all-around athletes to ever wear a Denton jersey.

Nonetheless, two transplants brought a whole different dimension to the Trojan program. They both showed a remarkably high basketball IQ, an offensive skill set like no other, and a mental toughness beyond their years. Bill Baker, who wore a Trojan uniform from 1965-67, and Doug Pemberton, a 1977-79 letterman, sported similar personalities, demeanors, and frames.

The two players exhibited slender, yet broad-shouldered torsos, stood 5’7”- 5’8” tall, and displayed a shy, unassuming temperament. They allowed their games to speak for themselves, and each guard exuded a quiet, yet lethal, confidence, which some perceived as borderline arrogance. Their smiling gestures and affable, on-court demeanors may have contributed to this perception.

In hindsight, these two ‘migrants’ could have been twin-sons-from-different mothers…on and off the court and field! Both successfully played multiple sports, neither caused any trouble, and each stayed clear of the alcohol and drug scene. They focused most of their time on BASKETBALL, and it truly showed on the floor!

These ‘twins’ scored at will, but neither were super quick or fast. Words like smooth, savvy, and cagey most accurately described their overall game, but, more significantly, one vital intangible embodied both players - GENETICS!

When analyzing their offensive arsenal, each guard possessed similar strengths as well. Bill looked to shoot immediately after crossing the mid-court line, and Doug accurately dissected defenses inside twenty-five feet from the basket. Because defenders needed to respect their shooting range, it allowed them to create favorable, offensive opportunities off the dribble. Finally, both sharpshooters displayed a devastating jump shot and finished well at the rim with either hand.

Out of the three traditional sports, kids my age and younger loved basketball the most. Numerous fall nights, after football practice, some of the 14-16-year-olds and I congregated in front of my garage and played ball under a single light, which brightly shined from above the backboard.

After my graduation, this nucleus of players eventually led the Trojans to the Northern Divisional Tournament for three consecutive years. Many of them played together since childhood, minus the additional farm boy or two. However, only one of those teenagers morphed into a bona fide basketball talent in the truest sense.

As a freshman, my childhood friend started to dominate in the pickup games. Doug developed an unstoppable jump shot and an elusiveness off the dribble.

Although not very quick, fast, and tall (5’5”) at that time, his ability to break down a defender, and create space for a shot, was a thing of beauty. He stopped on a dime, rocker-stepped back, rose with either hand, and quickly released with a flawless follow through.

Also, his mechanics and fundamentals were lightyears ahead of his age, but due to his undersized physique, his lack of strength impeded his shooting range. Even though, at this time in his development, I knew Doug – once fully mature – possessed all the tools required to evolve into one, incredibly special player.

Denton’s basketball journey through the 1970s commenced with a first-ever, state-tournament berth, followed by some unfortunate disappointments, and ended with a pleasant surprise of sorts. The Trojans’ 1969-70 roster included the deepest and most balanced group to ever don the blue-and-white jersey.

Seniors Jim Cecrle, Jack Carter, Dennis Sparks, Rick Todd, Tom Briney, Mike Miller, Ross Ronish, and juniors Vance Todd, Wayne Edwards, and Rob Lucas led Denton through a difficult conference slate and post-season play. Along the way, though, the Trojans took third place in their District 7C tournament, but fortunately for them, the state’s conference rotating system gave 7C three berths -- instead of the traditional two -- into the Northern Divisional tourney.

Their victories included intense, unnerving nail-biters which featured overtimes and late-game heroics. After losing their divisional opener to the eventual, second-place, state finisher, the Hingham Rangers, the Trojans went on a five-game winning streak; it involved three, high-pressure, loser-out games. They defeated the Belt Huskies, and then two 7C rivals, the Moore Bulldogs and St. Leo’s of Lewistown. After their overtime victory against St. Leo’s in the consolation championship, Denton successfully challenged the championship game loser – the Stanford Wolves -- and defeated them in overtime as well.

Thus, the mighty Trojans completed the hardest route to State. During that three-day event, the Blue Wave played four games, two of which occurred on the final day, and the last one required an extra period. Then, counting the state play-in game, which followed 48 hours later, the team competed in four more contests over the next six days. On top of that, it endured two, round-trip bus rides of 180 miles each followed by another 340-mile, round-trip, bus ride to Helena, Montana’s capital city.

These journeys eventually paid their toll, though. The Trojans’ post-season, winning streak ended after beating Willow Creek in the state quarterfinals. Then, the Trojans ran into a buzzsaw in the semifinals, losing to the eventual state champions, the Park City Panthers. The following morning, the Busby Indians defeated a very exhausted group of road warriors; nevertheless, it ended a truly remarkable run where all the stars aligned themselves for the Blue Wave.


The Trojans’ nine-year, Northern Divisional run ended in 1973 with one of the most tightly-knitted group of seniors to ever compete. From junior high through junior varsity, these boys never lost, and as juniors, they helped senior Gerald Grove win a surprising district championship and an eighth consecutive divisional berth. Consequently, the Denton faithful oozed optimism and exhibited an unwavering anticipation for the 1972-73 basketball season.

The returning six seniors dissected opponents with flawless offensive execution, smothering defensive pressure, and superb athletic talent. Don McGimpsey, Terry Knox, Bill Ayers, LeRoy Broere, Monte Grove, and Royal Melton were a synchronized machine where each athlete played a key role and unselfishly accepted it. They truly defined ‘poetry in motion’ on the court.

The season started with a bang. A Thanksgiving tournament championship, a second-place Christmas holiday finish, and early conference victories catapulted the Trojans to a high ranking in the Class C Power polls.

Then, after a crucial victory over the eventual co-conference and district champions, the Moore Bulldogs, an unfortunate debacle occurred; it led to the loss of one of its key contributors which also adversely affected the team’s chemistry. After this shocking and untimely blow, the Trojans lost twice to Moore; first in conference play and then again in the district championship game.

Sadly, their season ended at divisional, too. Denton lost the first game, after being ahead by double-digit points going into the fourth quarter, and eventually bowed out in a Saturday morning contest. Although the young men finished with 20 wins, many dejected players and fans left that tournament wondering ‘what if’.


The 1972-73 and 1977-78 seasons were eerily similar in many ways. The ’78 squad also returned a well-seasoned, veteran group which included seniors Dan Musick, Dick Lahr, Ross Melton, Kim Kingsbury, Max DeMars, and junior Doug Pemberton.

Unfortunately, like the ’73 squad, the Trojans lost a key starter before the District tournament. This disrupted the team’s momentum, in-game rotations, and bench depth. Additionally, like the ’73 team, it ended conference play tied for first, placed second at Districts, and exited the Northern Divisional tournament Saturday morning. Finally, even though these Trojans won 19 games, many disappointed fans and players left that tournament pondering the dreaded ‘what if’s’ as well.

I saw my good friend play hoops a few times after graduating in 1976. During his sophomore season, Doug split his playing time between junior varsity and varsity games. However, his varsity minutes and in-game contributions increased as the 1977, regular season continued.

So, while home for a long weekend break from college, I went to the district championship game in Lewistown. Fortunately, after a three-year hiatus, seniors Gary Cecrle, Rod Boling, Scott Hitchcock, Myron Ayres, and Randy Bokma led the Trojans to a second-place finish and a divisional berth. However, the following sequence depicted Doug’s contribution to the squad’s run as well…

During the final quarter, Pemberton penetrated from the right wing and rose to shoot near the elbow (free throw line extended). He then felt a taller defender off his right hip preparing to block his shot. Doug elevated, anyway, and in mid-flight, he transferred the ball to his left hand and released it.

After absorbing the defender’s contact, he drew the foul, and while falling to the ground, the ball swished through the net. Doug calmly made the free throw, which completed the three-point play and cut the Trojans’ deficit to four points.

That maneuver sketched itself forever in my mind, but it was not overly shocking to me. I saw Doug initiate that move numerous times in pickup games, but to attempt it in such a pressure-packed situation was ‘ballsy;’ although to him, it was just a natural reaction.

I left the Lewistown Civic Center that evening knowing my childhood friend’s basketball future wreaked of stardom.


While home for Christmas in 1978, I watched a Trojan team in search of its identity after five seniors graduated and its basketball coach of three years left. Doug was the only returning starter from that Northern Divisional, semi-finalist squad.

However, his fellow seniors and a junior surprisingly developed into productive players. Doug helped elevate their game by improving his assists and rebounds per contest from his junior campaign. Remember, he had not played with this group since his sophomore year because of his mid-season insertion onto the varsity roster.

True, he scored over 30 points in that holiday contest, but Denton needed the four other players on the floor to secure a victory. Seniors Jon Harms, Michael Hitchcock, Dave Dirkson, Don Cunningham, and undergraduates Brad Hauf and Glen Todd evolved into key contributors.

In preseason polls, District 7C coaches had the Trojans finishing in the middle-of-the-pack. However, the squad slowly gelled and eventually won the tournament championship crown. Additionally, Harms, Hitchcock, Dirkson, Hauf and Pemberton catapulted the Trojans to fourth in the Northern Divisional tourney and the second highest finish behind the 1970 squad. Without a doubt, its most memorable achievement, though, involved being only the second and last boys’ team in the 20th century to place in a northern divisional tournament.

However, this squad’s post-season almost never happened…
Every athlete signed a district athletic code that addressed issues such as alcohol and drug consumption, academic standards, and behavioral expectations. When a player violated the ‘Code,’ the in-season, varsity coach, the athletic director, principal, superintendent, and the school board interpreted the ‘Code’ and assigned any punishment.

Well, after the boys amazingly clinched at least a share of the conference, regular-season crown, a celebration ensued which involved alcohol. Regrettably -- as was the case in many small towns -- word spread about the party and who attended; consequently, it forced the head coach and the administration to investigate. Their findings initially led to the suspension of multiple players and ultimately forfeiting their final conference game.

Meanwhile, the boys confessed to being at the party, but they vehemently denied consuming any alcohol or drugs. Eventually, the culprits pled guilty by association, but the administration’s decision remained, anyway. So, in response, the suspended players’ parents thought the punishment did not fit the violations and appealed the decision.

In the end, the players were allowed back on the team; however, their final, regular-season loss dropped the Trojans’ district tournament seeding from first to third. Nevertheless, with the roster fully intact again, the guys went on to win the tourney championship, but not without some more shenanigans.

During the championship game’s announcement of the five, Denton starters, the Hobson fans displayed a life-sized Tuborg Gold beer bottle which mockingly poked fun at their opponent’s alleged, off-court escapades.

So, in response, one of the Trojan’s coaches grabbed the championship trophy during the postgame celebration and purposely shoved it toward the Tiger faithful, who were sitting behind the Denton bench.

The most memorable offensive feat of any Trojan basketball player took place at Roy, Montana, December 15, 1978. “I remember coach saying all week in practice that the team was going to score 100 points, and I was going to get 50…,” Doug said.

Well, coach was wrong on both accounts. The Trojans defeated Roy, 119-58, and Pemberton scored 61 points on 26-34 shooting and 9-11 from the free throw line. Amazingly, he accomplished these feats in 28 minutes of play (32-minute games, eight-minute quarters).

Great shooters talk about ‘being in a zone: I don’t really remember much of it because it was a blur [while] playing the game, and I was exhausted,” he said. “I do remember tripping over the foul line, heading for the floor, and throwing the ball up at the basket and… swish!”

Well, my childhood friend certainly was in one that night: “I knew every time I went past 10-20-30 etc,” Doug responded, when asked if he was aware of his point tally throughout the contest. “I pretty much knew right after I went to the bench [for the final time] I had 61. It was fun.”

Without a doubt, Pemberton’s efforts at Roy placed him among Montana’s most prolific scorers. Yet, as of 2020, his accomplishments were still missing from the Montana High School Sports Record Book. Only the Lewistown News Argus clipping – found on page two -- verified his single-game heroics. (As of this writing, I contacted the MHSA twice about this issue, to no avail).

When Doug heard about this from me, he responded, “[It’s] not really a big deal to me…I, and everyone that knows me, [remembers] what I did. Plus, it doesn’t surprise me; Denton never received any love [from anyone], anyway.”

With that said, if his accomplishments were included, his sixty-one-point effort would tie him for fifth, and third for the 26 field goals he made. Also, averaging 29.6 points per contest during his senior year would place him ninth overall in the record books.

In another note of interest, he accomplished these feats without the luxury of the three-point line; it came into play in 1987. If one existed then, Doug thought he may have scored between 67-69 points that night.

So, taking into consideration the records prior to 1987, his achievements placed him at or near the top. He finished first in single-game points scored and season average, tied for first in single-game field goals attempted (34), and second in single-game field goals made (26).

Additionally, according to Pemberton, he amassed 13, 30+ point games during his varsity career. Eleven came as a senior, which included 39, 38, 37, and 36-point outputs, and 33 and 30 points in his junior year’s District semifinals and Divisional first round games, respectfully.

During our adult encounters, we never discussed these remarkable feats because Doug felt they all happened in the past so just let them stay there. Also, he probably realized that his 61-point effort would never stand after the addition of the three-point line…and a year after, it fell.

In 1988, two players each scored 65 points. Yet, Doug never mentioned or complained that their achievements included the three-point ‘arc’ and his did not. Instead, during a newspaper interview with the Billings Gazette, he deflected any questions regarding these matters. He just congratulated and applauded the young men for their accomplishments.

In comparison, when asked about one of his fallen records, Yogi Berra -- the New York Yankee great -- said, “Congratulations! I knew the record would stand until it was broken.”

Yogi’s response truly summarized Doug’s frame of mind regarding his achievements. In essence… it was, what it was! He was a boy of few words who grew into a man of even fewer ones. Consequently, his actions in life always spoke louder than his words, and only those closest to him really understood that.


Throughout history, the sports’ public always scrutinized those who possessed a gift and a natural ability to compete. Due to Doug’s accolades, some scrutiny surfaced regarding his game.

These naysayers quietly labeled Pemberton without really knowing and understanding him. Locals, players, and coaches referred to him as a gunner, ball hog, prima donna, and an egotist. Granted, Doug was a highly confident basketball player, and he excluded many of the locals from his inner sanctum. Consequently, these actions more than likely contributed to the rumors and distorted perceptions that circulated around him.

The bottom line, though? Much of the unpleasant buzz stemmed from jealousy and ignorance, and to those naysayers, Doug’s game spoke volumes. In essence, let me put his 61-point accomplishment in perspective. In 1978-79, if a player scored 10 points per game, he needed approximately 193 minutes, or three hours and 13 minutes of game time, to amass what Doug accomplished in 28 minutes. Plus, he averaged over two points per minute in that contest!

To state it mildly, Doug was an extraordinarily gifted basketball player, who deserved much more recognition than the blurb displayed on page two of this story. So, after broadcasting my final basketball game in 2013, the idea behind this tribute started to weigh heavily on my mind.

When I broached Doug on the idea, he initially objected. However, after texting him numerous times, he succumbed, and in his Yogi-Berra-like sarcasm, he replied, “You must be bored in retirement, huh?” So, my first task involved titling this story, and “Sixty-One” came to mind for obvious reasons. It signified not only the points Doug scored that winter’s night so long ago, but it also reflected his birth year of 1961, and the age he turned, July 30, 2022; the day I gifted him this tribute.

Additionally, since those Trojan basketball teams and players defined so much of my upbringing, I decided to include some historical context in this story as well. In so doing, a huge thanks to my older siblings -- JoEllen, Ed, and Dennis -- for their valuable input and insight. Being an adolescent and pre-teenager from 1965-1970 really tested my memory recall.

Finally, regarding my childhood friend, his post-high school, basketball aspirations quickly vanished with the birth of his daughter and two sons. He later inherited a third boy and a 10-year-old daughter from his second wife, Donnette, as well. Pemberton prioritized his family first and foremost by working 39+ years before retiring from NorthWestern Energy (formerly Montana Power) in Billings, Montana. In July 2021, the Pemberton’s retired to Arizona where they continued to enjoy - from afar - their four adult children and eight grandchildren (sadly, Donnette’s daughter succumbed to cancer two years after they married).

In retrospection, during his youth, basketball certainly allowed Pemberton the opportunity to display his extraordinary talents. However, today, he would say his most significant, lifetime legacy would extend far beyond Montana’s gymnasiums and personal accomplishments. Without a doubt, it would genuinely center around his role as a caring provider, husband, father, and grandfather.


Patrick Shannon retired from public school teaching in 2017. During his 34-year reign, he taught U.S. & World History, Global Issues, Creative Writing, Journalistic English, English Literature & Composition, Journalism, and Geography at the secondary level. He also taught Speech Communication as a graduate student at Washington State University.

While teaching, he oversaw many extracurricular activities as well. He coached and broadcasted high school football and basketball and advised an award-winning, student newspaper. Additionally, through the Close-Up program, he helped fund raise and chaperone two separate groups of teenagers on a weeklong tour of Washington D.C.

During his professional tenure, Shannon enjoyed writing with his students. These experiences eventually led to the completion of five, unpublished short stories and a long poem. He also started researching and writing a historical fiction novel which has slowly progressed over the past two decades.

Shannon earned both a bachelor’s and Master of Art’s degree. He received his undergraduate diploma in Secondary Education with an emphasis in History, Political Science, and Journalism from the University of Montana in 1981. Nine years later, he earned his graduate degree from Washington State University in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations and Marketing.

During his adult life, the great outdoors has always piqued his interest. Dog training, pheasant hunting, fly fishing, river floating, trailer camping, and ‘sub-par’ golfing have monopolized his time. Since retiring, though, yard work, long walks, and staying healthy have kept him occupied.

Shannon and his wife, Mary, have been married 25 years while living in Clarkston, Washington. They have no kids but have raised numerous canines together.

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