MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Tom Hanneman, whose sports journalism career in the Twin Cities spanned nearly 50 years, has died.
While still studying at the University of Minnesota, Hanneman wrote a letter to Dave Moore, who hosted the evening news on WCCO-TV. Moore gave him a tour of the station, and helped him get a foot in the door as a dispatcher.
Then, in the early 1970s, Hanneman started working for WCCO-TV as a sports reporter and anchor. During his time, he covered two Vikings Superbowl appearances, the 1987 World Series run for the Twins, and the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo.
He and former sports anchor Mark Rosen came to WCCO during the same era, and became fast friends and colleagues.
“We were roommates together. He was the best man at my wedding. We had tons of laughs and just kind of grew up in the business together,” Rosen said. “After the shows, getting together, hanging out. I mean, I don’t think people do that as much in the office anymore, and I think those are the times I remember.”
He was known inside the industry as one of the kindest, humblest souls. He has suffered heart issues starting about a year and a half ago, WCCO’s Mike Max reports.
In 1979, Hanneman experienced what he called a “life-affirming event,” in which he was held hostage at Red Laker Reservation. A gun was held to his head, and he was told he was going to die.
After 16 years, Hanneman left WCCO-TV to join the newly-formed Minnesota Timberwolves as a TV and radio host and reporter. He eventually came to be the Wolves’ television play-by-play voice.
Timberwolves and Lynx owner Glen Taylor issued a statement:
“I am deeply saddened by the passing of Tom Hanneman. Since the inception of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tom has been a broadcast fixture and voice of our franchise throughout the years. First on radio, then moving to television, his more than five decades of broadcast experience impacted generations of basketball fans. Tom’s grace, spirit and sense of humor was felt by all who came in contact with him. On behalf of the Timberwolves and Lynx, we extend our deepest condolences to Nancy, the Hanneman family, and his FOX Sports North family.”
In 2012, Hanneman became the face of Fox Sports North, serving as the host for the Timberwolves, Wild, Twins, and Gopher hockey pre-and-post game shows.
Hanneman was awarded the Upper Midwest Emmy Chapter Silver Circle in November of 2020.
He is survived by his wife Nancy, two sons and a daughter. The cause of his death has not been reported.
The best of times shared with Tom Hanneman. We were roommates, he was the best man at my wedding and beyond his tremendous skill set as a writer and broadcaster never lost his wit or deep sense of what was important. I am absolutely gutted by his loss https://t.co/2egstty5zm
— Mark Rosen (@KFANRosen) December 18, 2020
Such sad news today. Tom was such a good guy and class act. https://t.co/2zpi39Jq2J
— Amelia Santaniello (@WCCOAmelia) December 18, 2020
No. No. No. Devastating. https://t.co/XQkvwzulYV
— Patrick Kessler (@PatKessler) December 18, 2020
— Cathy Wurzer (@CathyWurzer) December 18, 2020
It's hard to describe, but Tom Hanneman was a warm blanket in a cold Target Center. Always in a suit, he would stop when we passed in the hall, put two hands on his bag. "Jon, how are you?" in a voice so soothing you knew he actually wanted to know the answer.
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) December 18, 2020
No. Not Tom Hanneman. Truly the nicest person in the business.
— Jim Souhan (@SouhanStrib) December 18, 2020
The thing I'll remember most about Tom Hanneman is that he had the best Sid Hartman impersonation I've ever heard.
— Brandon Warne (@Brandon_Warne) December 18, 2020
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