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Tim Shannehan shattered Fairfield Prep's single-season scoring record in 2024.

Timothy Shannehan Named Northeast Boys' Player of the Year

June 17, 2024
Dylan Butler
John Pellegrino

There’s a chip that’s been permanently implanted on Timothy Shannehan’s shoulder.

Fairfield Prep (Conn.) coach Graham Niemi said it was originally a ‘small guy chip,’ that made Shannehan feel like he needed to outwork everyone. Growing up, he was always one of the smallest guys on the field.

Eventually, Shannehan grew — but the chip remained.

“I think that’s the best thing about him is he never lost that determination on the ride, he never lost that toughness on the ground, never lost sight of, ‘I’ve got to make other people better because maybe I can’t dominate the game with my dodging yet because I’m not big enough,’” Niemi said. “But now that he is big enough, he’s checking every box in a game. He can feed it, he can shoot it, he can dodge. He’s an incredible rider, he’s tough on ground balls. He’s an incredible player.”

That incredible player just completed what Niemi called arguably the greatest single season in Fairfield Prep history. Shannehan shattered the school’s single-season scoring record with a balanced 134 points (73 goals, 61 assists), leading the Jesuits to a 21-1 record and the CIAC Class LL state championship.

Shannehan also earned a big-time individual honor as the USA Lacrosse High School Boys’ Northeast Player of the Year.

USA Lacrosse writers select the regional and national players of the year with input from coaches in their respective regions of coverage.

“He’s arguably the best player we’ve ever had,” Niemi said. “But for a single season, no one’s done what ‘T’ did, both scoring and leadership, and he made the other kids better players this year. That’s the biggest reason we had the season that we had.”

The Boston University-bound attackman also became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 338 points, surpassing Dan Redgate’s previous record of 305 points in a program that also developed Austin Sims, Connor Kelly, Rob Rotanz and John Cunningham over the years.

“It’s so special,” Shannehan said. “There’s been so many great players, so many amazing players that have been at Prep. It’s insane for me to be this. I think it speaks to my teammates and how amazing they were. It’s kind of weird to think about. I haven’t really let it set in.”

Shannehan burst onto the scene as a freshman when Tyler Fox, his soon-to-be teammate again at BU, broke his wrist early in the season. Shannehan was inserted into the starting lineup and erupted for six goals and an assist against perennial public school powerhouse Cheshire (Conn.).

“That’s when I was like, ‘Man, what a player we have,’” Niemi said. 

Shannehan, whose father, Tim, was a standout at Fairfield Prep before competing at Vermont, was named first-team All-Connecticut as a freshman, second-team All-Connecticut as a sophomore and junior and first-team All-Connecticut again as a senior.

But he missed the all-important summer travel circuit the last two years — first because of a stress fracture in his back and then because of a lacerated liver suffered in a loss to Staples (Conn.) in the state final last year.

“There’s a bunch of kids you can name that are five stars, and I feel like I’m just as good, so that kind of annoyed me seeing that. I’ve definitely kind of used that as motivation,” Shannehan said. “I know my skill; my teammates know my skill. I just try to play how I am and not worry about that too much.”

While the exposure and stars went to other schools, Shannehan said the love from Boston University head coach Ryan Polley and offensive coordinator Mike Silipo never wavered.

“They were always reaching out, talking to me every day, seeing how I was, not even about recruiting, just like talking about my family, stuff like that, just creating great relationships, like on a personal level,” he said.

Niemi, who spent 20 years as a college coach, including 13 at Yale before arriving at Fairfield Prep, said Shannehan’s diversity will suit him well at the next level.

“There’s two kinds of guys who go to college and do really well. It’s the kid who can do one thing better than everybody else,” Niemi said, “and there’s a kid who can do a lot of things really well. And that’s ‘T.’ He’s checking a lot of boxes for you. He can start on attack for you, play at X. He can start on the lefty side and play over there. He can easily run on the midfield line. If he gets the short stick all game, watch out. A guy like him, his versatility as he goes to the college game is going to be his greatest asset.”

Shannehan had his individual honors and Division I commitment but entered his senior season “crazy motivated” for a state championship that eluded him and his fellow seniors who lost to Ridgefield (Conn.) in the final in 2021, to Darien (Conn.) in the semifinals in 2022 and Staples in last year’s final.

Niemi said he spoke with longtime assistant coach Mike Epstein before the start of the season to change the Jesuits from a power dodging team led by alpha males like Marco Firmender (Penn), Peter Grandolfo (Bucknell) and Fox to one that better suited Shannehan’s skill set.

“To win this, somehow we had to be better off ball, we had to be better cutters,” Niemi said. “We’ve got to have a little bit more of a looking-for-assisted-goals type of offense than we had in the past. And ‘T’ was the engine behind that.”

Shannehan showed remarkable consistency throughout the season — his season-low point total was four. His high mark was 11 against Boston College High (Mass.), and the Jesuits had 10 players score 10 or more goals.

As a result, Fairfield Prep was remarkably consistent, losing just once — 12-10 to Chaminade (N.Y.) on April 6 — and ended on an 18-game winning streak. And Shannehan led by example, in his own way.

A day after a 10-7 win against Ridgefield in the state semifinals in which Shannehan had two goals and three assists, Niemi instituted an optional shootaround. Niemi did a double take when he reached the field. 

“There’s a shirtless, shoeless kid in the goal with a chest protector, a helmet and a goalie stick. And I’m looking out there, I’m going, ‘Who is that?’ And it’s ‘T’ with 15 kids shooting tennis balls at him,” Niemi said with a laugh. “I think that says a lot about his level of humility. He doesn’t have this enormous ego where he puts himself above everybody else. I think that says a lot about his spirit and how much he loves lacrosse and what kind of teammate he is that he’s gonna let those other guys have a couple of whacks at him on the day after the state semifinals.”

In the state championship game, Shannehan had three goals and two assists to help lead Fairfield Prep to a 9-7 victory over Darien. In the final seconds, with the ball on the defensive side, Shannehan got to celebrate with his brother Luke, a junior who had 69 goals and 22 assists on the year.

“This was the first real season that we got to play with each other. He was dealing with injury the past few years,” Shannehan said. “We obviously grew up playing, I think every day we’d have a stick in our hands, playing in the backyard, passing, just doing whatever. Throughout the whole season, it was so special just to be with him, to finally play with him and to just experience that with him.”

A few days after helping Fairfield Prep win a seventh CIAC title in program history and first in 11 years, Shannehan was on campus at Boston University for orientation. He’ll reunite with Fox there, but he’s not quite ready to put Fairfield Prep behind him.

“I’m so grateful for my experience these four years, all the friendships I made, all the teammates, all the bonds I made with the coaches and everybody. It flew by,” Shannehan said. “I feel like just yesterday I was entering Prep. I’m saying that I’m still a high school student until the summer ends. I’m just trying to hold on to that.”

Fairfield Prep's Timothy Shannehan.
Shannehan produced 73 goals and 61 assists in 2024.
John Pellegrino

Timothy Shannehan

School: Fairfield Prep (Conn.)
Year: Senior
Position: Attack
2024 statistics: 73 goals, 61 assists

Also considered: Kyle Colsey, Ridgefield (Conn.); Hudson Hausmann, Brunswick School (Conn.); Matt Jeffery, Cheshire (Conn.); Michael Melkonian, South Side (N.Y.); Jake Vana, St. John’s Prep (Mass.); Dante Vardaro, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.)

Brunswick School (Conn.)
Brunswick (Conn.) finishes 2024 atop the Northeast Region.
Dan Burns / Brunswick Athletics

Final Northeast Region Top 10

1. Brunswick School (Conn.), 17-1
2. St. Anthony’s (N.Y.), 12-2
3. Belmont Hill (Mass.), 17-1
4. Chaminade (N.Y.), 11-4
5. Bayport-Blue Point (N.Y.), 21-1
6. Fairfield Prep (Conn.), 21-1
7. South Side (N.Y.), 21-1
8. McQuaid Jesuit (N.Y.), 20-2
9. Darien (Conn.), 16-7
10. Cold Spring Harbor (N.Y.), 14-6