San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan at his introductory press conference with his wife Mandy.
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers via Getty Images

Kyle Shanahan & His Wife's Love Grew Stronger Over Her Mother's Cancer Diagnosis


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan finds a way to win. Plain and simple. Yes, Shanahan has a reputation for falling short in Super Bowls, but the guy has essentially perfected his own personal brand of football. Run the ball. Run the ball. Throw it to Deebo Samuel. Don't turn it over. With a game plan like that, it's easy to see why the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers has been successful in the regular season. But Kyle Shanahan's wife Mandy already knew that.

The American Football coach's teams can never be counted out because he ensures his guys are always prepared. Considering the plethora of injuries the Niners have battled over the past couple of years, they've competed at the highest level, even if a lot of efforts have resulted in losses. The fact that Shanahan was able to roll over the Cowboys and head into the NFC Championship game with Brock Purdy in 2022 is truly remarkable, but that's how the National Football League coach rolls.

Aside from being a doppelgänger for Kendall Roy from "Succession," Shanahan is known for being all business when it comes to football. However, his wife Mandy knows a different side of her husband. A more sensitive one.


This side helped her get through the passing of her mom.

Kyle Shanahan's Wife Mandy Shanahan

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers stands with his wife Mandy during the NFC Championship trophy ceremony following game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

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Kyle and Amanda O'Donnell, who goes by Mandy, attended Cherry Creek High School outside of Denver. At the time, Kyle's dad, Mike Shanahan, was the head coach of the Denver Broncos and in the midst of a highly successful run that included back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1997 and 1998. But still, Mike and Peggy Shanahan, were still focused on raising the best family they could.

Their relationship went like many do near the end of high school. Kyle was a year older, and the two dated the summer after Mandy graduated but broke things off due to them going to different colleges. Kyle was playing wide receiver at Duke (he later transferred to the University of Texas at Austin) and Mandy was headed to the University of Colorado where she majored in English Literature. They remained in touch as friends.


Fast forward two years and Mandy learned her mother, Nancy O'Donnell, had Stage 4 gall bladder cancer. The news was completely unexpected. Nancy was a vibrant and healthy eighth-grade teacher who had only gone in for a procedure to remove gall stones.

Naturally, Mandy was crushed, but it was Kyle who helped her get through it. He would fly home from Austin on weekends to visit and take her on walks.

Nancy passed away three months after the initial diagnosis, and Mandy gives Kyle full credit steadying her during the difficult time.

"He completely stunned me," Mandy told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2017. "Kyle, hands down, got me through that. After going through that with him, I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. What was so alarming to me, being that young and going through something that devastating, I realized it's not going to be the last sad thing that I go through."


The couple tied the knot in 2005.

The Shanahan Children

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers stands with his family during the NFC Championship trophy ceremony following game against the Green Bay Packer

Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

It's no secret the life of an NFL head coach is extremely time consuming. However, Shanahan specifically dedicates four hours of his week to have fun with his and Mandy's three kids: daughters Lexi Louise and Stella Shanahan (their first child) and son Carter Shanahan, who was named after rapper Lil Wayne. Seriously.

Shanahan's Friday "driveway party" is spent playing around outside, riding bikes and shooting hoops to hand-crafted playlists from the Shan man himself. The Niners head man reportedly has 400-song playlists to commemorate the birth of each of his kids and also does the same for his nieces and nephews.

"There's really two things that are important to me," Shanahan said. "And that's my family, and that's football. And that's really all the things I think about."


Kyle Shanahan's Coaching Career

Kyle Shanahan loks at the scoreboard as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Tennessee Titans.

Wesley Hitt via Getty Images

Shanahan immediately followed in his father's coaching footsteps after finishing his playing career at Texas. He got his start as a graduate assistant at UCLA before jumping to the NFL as an offensive quality assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Five seasons into his NFL coaching career, Shanahan took over as the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans at just 29 years old.

He then worked the same position for the then-Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons, where he coached Matt Ryan to the 2016 NFL MVP, before losing in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots and then receiving the head coaching nod from the 49ers. Now he's facing off against the Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, and all of the other top-tier NFC teams. With a pedigree like Shanahan's, getting to the playoffs is a must every season.

Shanahan is one of the brightest minds in all of football, but he has a tendency to come off as cold sometimes. Mandy knows her husband in a different light.

"You hear that he's hard to reach, or he's arrogant," she said. "Kyle's been one of the most sensitive people I've ever been around, in a good way. He's so in tune with people's emotions and how people feel. And that's what makes him such a gifted father and supporting husband."


When the Niners win a big game, Shanahan lets his guard down a bit and smiles when he sees his family. A welcome response to the top priority in his life.

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