A few years ago in Texas, G.J.Kinne was a star quarterback with what appeared to be a bright future — until gunfire turned his world upside down.
Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, E:60 details Kinne’s story.
It’s one of several football-related segments in a special “Year Of The Quarterback” edition of the series.
A former University of Texas recruit, Kinne is now a star at Tulsa University and a pro prospect.
E:60 producer David Salerno, who worked with reporter Lisa Salters on the piece, explains how the E:60 profile of Kinne came about.
FR: What attracted you to the G.J. Kinne story?
Salerno: G.J. had a strong backstory and had endured some gripping drama as a young man. Additionally, he’s a pro prospect and was a [C-USA] conference player of the year. That doesn’t hurt either.
FR: A man shot G.J.’s father Gary in April 2005, apparently in a dispute over Gary’s decisions as a high school coach. Gary survived, but reliving that incident must be tough for the Kinne family. How difficult was it to get interviews regarding the shooting?
Salerno: It wasn’t difficult at all. After calling the school [Tulsa] and talking to the SID, they were pleased to get a chance to work with us. The feeling was mutual of course, but I have to assume the school and family thought it would be a meaningful story and good publicity.
FR: How’s Gary father doing these days?
Salerno: Gary is doing very well. He’s the athletic director and head football coach at Sherman High School in Sherman, Texas. They had a 10-win season last year. In addition, G.J.’s college career is going very well and Gary is looking forward to seeing his son get drafted in April 2012. He still thinks about that fateful day but has moved on well — both professionally and personally.
FR: How diverse are your assignments as an E:60 producer and how do you go about being a “quick-study?”
Salerno: Very diverse. I can go from doing a whimsical, funny piece to a serious story involving attempted murder to a profile of a high-profile star.
FR: How long have you been at ESPN and what sorts of jobs did you have before arriving?
Salerno:: I have been at ESPN for 14 years and came straight from Northwestern University. I was an intern for NBC at the 1996 Olympics and on the Today Show in 1995.
FR: What appeals to you most about your job?
Salerno:: The opportunities for adventures in new, interesting places and to tell emotional, inspirational, captivating stories.
Editor’s note: Below is an outtake from Salerno’s video, featuring him with a “clapper” to begin taping the interview between Salters and Kinne.