Gunn Prepares For Future

Pitt's linebacking corps last fall was quite a mixture with Scott McKillop in the middle, along with Shane Murray and Adam Gunn on the outside.

Neither started a game for Pittsburgh prior to last season when they opened all 12 contests for the Panthers, but more amazing was that only Scott McKillop played the same position the previous years. Shane Murray and Adam Gunn were in the secondary, and Murray even began his Pitt career as a quarterback.

But Gunn, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound fifth-year senior, played his strong-side position extremely well by the end of last season and finished as the team's No. 3 tackler with 80 stops. So, more will be expected a Pitt defense that is much more experienced at linebacker now. And Gunn wouldn't have it any other way.

"I wouldn't say I miss quarterback (from high school), because I knew that wasn't what I was going to be doing in college,'' Gunn said. "I like playing linebacker. You're there right in the middle of the defense leading the way. I enjoy it that way.''

Even though it happened some eight months ago, Gunn believed the Panthers were still riding high after their 13-9 win against No. 2 West Virginia.

"That game was definitely one of the greatest moments that I'll ever have as a Pitt football player,'' Gunn said. "It was a great way to end the season, but at the same time we were 5-7, which isn't good enough to get to a bowl game. We need to improve. (Still), everywhere we go, we're reminded about 13-9.

"(Place-kicker) Conor (Lee) and I did a radio show the other day, and that was the main topic. It's not to be forgotten, but as football players we can't let that be our main focus. We can't think about that one game, because one game isn't going to make you win 10 others.

"We have a lot of improvement to make,'' Gunn added, "but that game let us know what we're capable of. We go into every game expecting to win, but the way that we played that night was phenomenal. We gained a lot of respect for ourselves (inside and outside the locker room).''

Since Gunn's college football career is quickly coming to a close, he's already planning for the future. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in communication and rhetoric, Gunn has begun working toward a master's in public administration with a focus on non-profit public management.

"As a freshman, you don't think too much about it, but not too long ago I had to make a decision about either going to graduate school or focusing completely on football,'' Gunn noted.

Gunn certainly worked as hard as his teammates training for his final football season at Pitt, but he also has prepared some for a future away from football. He spent part of the summer working with the Oakland Business Improvement District, a marketing and economic non-profit company for the businesses along Fifth and Forbes avenues.

The organization works to develop ways for visitors to Oakland, as well as business employees, residents and staff in the area to take advantage of the many features that Oakland has to offer.

"Right now, we're involved in the beautification of Oakland, working to keep it clean,'' Gunn said. "One of our projects is the cigarette litter prevention program in which we've installed ash receptacles around Oakland for used cigarette disposal. We're also handing out pocket ash trays, which I'm sure a lot of people probably don't know about.'

The Oakland Business Improvement District also strives to bridge any gaps between local businesses and institutions and to set up a more efficient network of cooperation and participation.

Gunn plans to continue devoting time to this project in the fall, and he has the grade point average to prove that he is proficient in time management. Gunn has balanced academics, athletics and community involvement so far to the tune of a 3.7 GPA. If his strong work off the field continues, Gunn once again should be a Big East academic all-star.

And if his achievements on the football field continue to improve as well, Gunn could reach the same lofty status there as well.

Pitt's media relations department contributed to this story.

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