This weekend marks the end of a long wait for DENNIS MANNION, in both his work and family life. Having taken the position last year as Palace Sports & Entertainment President & CEO, Mannion’s family only made the move to Michigan a little over a month ago. This weekend, he will take them out to enjoy the sights of autumn around their new hometown of Bloomfield Hills, about 25 miles north of Motown. In addition, Mannion is scheduled to have the final walk-through on renovations to the Palace at Auburn Hills -- a project six months in the making. Mannion took time to discuss his wife’s secret love of mushroom omelets and tales of walking his version of "Marley & Me."
CHECKING INTO THE PALACE: This weekend the Pistons have two games -- both on the road -- and I’m looking forward to watching them. We play on Friday against Oklahoma City and Saturday against Houston. But my other work-related activity is wrapping up almost $15 million worth of capital improvements to the Palace, so we have a checklist walk-through on Saturday. Usually people wouldn’t be that excited about going to work, but I’m pretty excited to get to the final list. It’s been six months and it means getting this thing done. So it’s going to be nice. It’ll take about four hours. It’s pretty extensive stuff that we did and my hope is that substantially, by the end of it, 95% of the work will be completed.
ROARING INTO THE WEEKEND: I’ll come into work to check in on our capital improvements, but we also happen to have the Ringling Brothers circus in town as well. So I’ll check on the show. I’m definitely going to check it out and make sure all the tigers are in their cages.
FAMILY FUN TIME: I’m also looking forward to spending time with friends and family. I haven’t been able to do that for a while. It’s great because my family is huge sports fans. … I’ve got five kids, but four of them are grown up and two of them married. Of the four older ones, one lives in San Diego, one in Los Angeles, one in Vegas and one in Manhattan and we’ve got the last one at home as a junior in high school. She’s into her first month of school and undoubtedly there will be something sports-related this weekend. She just started a soccer season to prepare for the spring, I think that’s on tap for this weekend. She just finished up with field hockey. She just seems to roll from one sport to the other. She got six letters in her first two years of high school in sports. I was too embarrassed to tell her I didn’t graduate with three.
LATE RISERS: We live in a town called Bloomfield Hills and right down the road there’s a town called Birmingham and we like to go to a place called Toast. They had one in L.A. that we liked and we found this one very quickly. That’s our hot spot generally for Sunday. We’re down to the last child, so we’re definitely the 11:00am, 12:00pm people rolling in. I’m usually working fairly late with games or events at the Palace, so on the weekend we’re late risers.
HOT TAMALE: My wife is an omelets expert, so we’re big on massive-sized veggie omelets. She’s a mushroom freak, so we usually have different kinds of mushrooms in there, but for me it’s the hot peppers. Lots of different hot peppers, and first thing in the morning, it gets the metabolism rolling.
DOG DAYS OF FALL: I like to row, but I have a stationary rower in the house. I generally get to do that and a lot of walking if I can. Those are the two primary things I do ever since I gave up the title of Mr. America (laughs). We have an enormous-sized German Shepherd named Leila. She’s 135 pounds so my walks are like most people’s jogs. It’s anaerobic and aerobic with that dog. She’s big.