Michael F. Shanahan’s gregarious personality and daring management style made him one of the most popular executives in this region’s sports history. Under his leadership in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the St. Louis Blues regained their standing as a mainstream sports attraction. The franchise’s revival led to the construction of a downtown arena that opened in 1994. Shanahan, a former soccer star at St. Louis University, was president of Engineered Support Systems Inc. Shanahan led an investment group that purchased the Blues from California businessman Harry Ornest in December 1986. At the same time, the city purchased The Arena from Ornest. By 1990 Shanahan had sold his ownership stake to the Kiel Center Partners as that group led efforts to build a new downtown arena for the team. Shanahan stayed on as team chairman until replaced by former Cardinals executive Jerry Ritter after the 1994-95 season. In 2008 Shanahan pleaded guilty to a federal charge for backdating stock options and agreed to repay $7.9 million. In exchange for the guilty plea on one count of falsifying the records of a publicly traded company, the government dropped 11 other charges against Shanahan. The government also agreed to drop charges against his son, Michael Shanahan Jr.