TU Quarterback Overcomes Father's Tragedy


Thursday, August 6th 2009, 1:12 pm
By: News On 6


By Kyle Dierking, News On 6 Sports

TULSA, OK -- The pain is palpable.

"You think about, 'I've got to run this morning, I've got to lift weights this morning,'" said Tulsa quarterback GJ Kinne. "In the back of my mind I think about compared to what my dad went through, anything we're doing is easy."

Thoughts - memories - permeating from the past. Sometimes it's a lot of weight to bear.

"We heard, ‘shelter in place, shelter in place.' You think it's just a drill..." Kinne said.

It's a moment marred inside his mind. The day his dad almost died.

"I get down there and see all the blood on the floor - it's crazy," Kinne said. "We go down to the field house and it looks like a crime scene."

All it took was a single bullet to the stomach. 80% of a liver lost, a 10% chance to live, 100% uncertainty.

"You don't know what to think - you're in shock. Who did it? Is everything going to be okay? It was a big life-changing experience."

Questions all asked when GJ's father, his football coach, Gary was shot by an angry parent four years ago in Canton, Texas.

"That's Texas high school football - that's crazy stuff," GJ said. "My dad didn't do anything to deserve it - people out there are crazy."

Miraculously, just a few months later Gary was back on the field for Canton's season opener. It was a pre-game speech that set the tone for the most successful season in Canton history.

"He was just telling us, ‘I came back, I made it, I can get out of bed every morning' - just stuff like that made us rally around him. That's why we played so well that year," GJ said. "Not because of the talent, that's for sure. His leadership, his character and the things he went through. We knew we could do anything."

After coaching stops at Baylor and a California high school, Gary Kinne is back in the Lone Star state. He's the new head coach at Sherman High School - just a short drive away to see GJ suit up here for TU.

"He was probably going to get to come to three games in California, now he'll get to come to almost all of them," Kinne said. "You want your dad and your family to be there and stuff - you couldn't ask for more." 

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