For Rob Guerrera, it took all of two minutes to realize his choice to work in journalism was correct.
While sitting in professor Kenn Venit’s JRN160 class one day, he watched the R. Budd Dwyer press conference during which the congressman commits suicide.
After minutes of listening to his speech, ultimately ending with the crack of the barrel, Venit shut off the video.
“You have two minutes to write your story,” he said. “Go.”
Unlike most students who crack under the pressure after witnessing such a travesty, Guerrera took his pen and began writing. Guerrera’s passion for journalism began at an early age, but these two minutes gave him all the assurance he and Venit needed.
“He didn’t get weeded out, he got weeded in,” Venit said.
Guerrera, more commonly refered to as “Stats” during his day job, is a 2006 Quinnipiac alum who currently resides in Hamden. He is the production assistant for “Mike & Mike in the Morning” on ESPN Radio.
The pencil-thin Guerrera looks very much the part of a college student, but his wealth of experience makes it easy to confuse him for a veteran in the industry. He began hosting his own sports talk radio show on WQAQ during his sophomore year, and produced the first live-streamed game in Quinnipiac history.
“I don’t even know how we rigged up the system,” Guerrera said. “It was smoke and mirrors, bubble gum and rubber bands, but we got it on air and have been streaming ever since.”
His love for sports and radio developed at an early age listening to WFAN, the local flagship sports talk station, in the car with his dad.
By the time he had his own car, Guerrera’s voice pulsated in disagreement while listening in on the daily opinions on WFAN’s “Mike and the Mad Dog.” He took his passion for sports and radio and was hooked the moment he stepped foot on the Mount Carmel campus.
Growing up in Prospect, Conn., 25 minutes from ESPN’s campus, Guerrera marveled at the spectacle that is the “worldwide leader in sports.” His dream employer ESPN came calling during his junior year at Quinnipiac.
After attending job fairs on campus and in Bristol, Conn., Guerrera picked up the phone and started as an intern at ESPN one week later. The experience proved to be invaluable to his success working in radio.
“My role as an intern was when they asked, ‘Stats, can you…” and I would say ‘Yes’ before I even knew what they were asking,” Guerrera said. “I could figure out how to do what they asked on my own because the more you do here, the better you’re going to make yourself look.”
Guerrera has progressed from an intern to his current role as production assistant for Mike & Mike.
His day-to-day tasks include sifting through reports from every game the night before, cutting sound bites, contacting guests, and planing out the schedule for the next day’s show. Not to mention Guerrera interacts with and has befriended some of the world’s greatest athletes.
Although his responsibilities have changed since starting his internship, one aspect of his job will always remain the same.
“The first thing they will tell you is it’s long hours, which is true – my job starts at three o’clock every morning,” Guerrera said. “But it’s really fun. When Carmelo Anthony got into a fight at Madison Square Garden, that’s what we talked about at work.”
Over the years, Guerrera has compiled, researched, recorded, analyzed, transfered and compared pieces of all sorts of statistical information. He has done so with such drive and passion that he is someone to respect to the highest of standards. Guerrera is living a dream and making the most of the great opportunity granted to him.
“Being behind the scenes is awesome,” Guerrera said. “The guys at ESPN are great. They talk to you, they listen to you, and it gets on the air and that is so addicting.”
Photo credit: Matt Eisenberg