Alumni Profile: Pat Kinas, Class of 1992
For many athletes, reaching the Olympics is a dream, the goal and pinnacle of their career. Patrick Kinas, Class of 1992, while a standout tennis player for the Big Blue, never made it to the Olympics on the court. But in the summer of 2021 in Tokyo, he realized his dream of making it to the Olympics in a television broadcast booth. Well, technically not in Tokyo — COVID protocols kept him in the NBC booths in Stamford, Conn. — but that didn't dampen his joy of reaching his Olympic dream by calling the swimming preliminary rounds with gold medalist Amy Van Dyken.
"It's a dream I had when I was 7 years old," Kinas says. "There's a million things that have to go your way to make that happen."
One of those things that happened that set him on the right path was teaming up with the late Jimm Seaney, the WJMU general manager, early in his freshman year. Sweeney had him call the first quarter of a Millikin football game. Impressed, Sweeney let him call the rest of the game, and then the rest of the games the next four years, including a noteworthy playoff matchup.
"My most memorable game was the year that Millikin made the playoffs my senior year," Kinas says. "We were loaded. We had (future NFL player) Jeff Query, we beat Augie at the end of the season. The playoff game in Dayton was the biggest game I had called in my career — it was life changing."
Following an internship at WGN and master's work at Northwestern, he got a radio job in Clinton, Iowa, before landing jobs in North Carolina calling Carolina Mudcat games and then the Triple-A Durham Bulls baseball team games. He's called many sports and many teams along the way, including Division I football games. He called the Olympics on the radio for the Westwood One network for the 2016 Games in Rio (swimming) and the 2018 Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea (figure skating, short track speedskating and the opening/closing ceremonies).
Pat Kinas (right)
He was expecting to be on the radio for the Tokyo Olympics, but NBC called, asking him if he'd like to be on TV for the Olympic Trials in Omaha and the Games. "I immediately said yes," Kinas says.
The 10 days and approximately 25 hours of coverage on the USA Network was the most difficult broadcasting gig ever for Kinas, especially since they had to bring the races to life from thousands of miles away. "It was the most pressure-packed assignment I've ever had and the most fulfilling assignment I've ever had, on the grandest stage," Kinas says.
The most pressure-packed assignment so far, anyway. Kinas recently became a father as he and his wife of six years, Kathryn, welcomed a boy in December of 2021.
Now that he's achieved his dream of being an Olympic broadcaster, his next goal is to reach the Major Leagues or network-level major sport television/radio packages. But, he has just as much love for sports like swimming that are less popular — outside of Olympic years — than baseball or football. He says covering any elite athlete, such as American gold medal swimmers, is a joy.
"They all deserve our respect," Kinas says. "These are the finest athletes on the planet, so I try to treat any event I'm calling as such — it's the biggest event of these athletes' lives. Their friends and family are watching, they are making a date with us. I was extremely fortunate to be the one delivering that to them."