Pat White is the former Mountaineer star QB who helped guide the 'Eers to four straight bowl victories in his collegiate career. He was a 2nd-round pick of the Miami Dolphins and was their backup QB for one season before getting cut prior to the 2010-2011 season. He quickly signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals to pursue a career in the sport that saw him drafted multiple times. He played in their developmental league in Arizona for a few months before getting promoted to the Royals A affiliate, Burlington Royals. This past February, he announced quietly that he was retiring from baseball after he did not show up for spring training.
Since then, we've had numerous people ask us what Pat is up to. Is he going to make another run at the NFL, or is he going to join former Mountaineer, Avon Cobourne, and play in the CFL? We sent multiple calls, requests, and emails to both Pat and his agent that went unanswered wanting details about Pat's plan. We here at the Smoking Musket wanted the scoop so bad that we sent our newest article writing monkey, Caleb, down to Pat White's hometown in Daphne, AL to get some answers.
It turns out, that's what was needed. Not only did Caleb track down Pat White, he was able to spend some time with Pat and learn his surprising plans for the future.
Pat White grew up in a small town named Daphne situated across the Mobile Bay from Mobile, AL.. When football and baseball did not turn out the way White had hoped, he returned home to gather himself and decide what he wanted to do next. He had money in the bank from his contracts with the Dolphins and Royals, so he knew he could take some time to decide what he wanted.
I found the address where Pat's family lives and went to knock on the door. I was greeted by his father, Bo Sr. It was a familiar face. I had last seen him, being broadcasted on the Jumbotron at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC singing 'Country Roads' just after his son won his last career game in a Mountaineer uniform over the UNC Tarheels in the Mieneke Car Care Bowl. I explained to him who I was, who I was with, and what I hoped to find out. I asked Bo if he could tell me what Pat was going to do next. He was agitated by my coming to his home, but he told me to go down to the docks at the end of Belrose Ave. and find him there.
I got back in my car and drove the four blocks to the bay and found a small marina with about a dozen boats berthed there. It was a collection of sailboats, small personal crafts, fishing trawlers, and one tugboat. At the end of the docks, there were four shiny, white fishing boats lined up in a row that looked like they had just come off the assembly line. I could see the names painted on their hulls: 'RichRod,' 'Stew's Minnow,' 'No Shmitt,' and 'White-Out.'
There was one man near the boats. I saw him tightening a rope around a post on the dock. I knew from fifty yards away that I had finally tracked down Pat White. The current man of mystery.
I walked up to him and introduced myself and told him who I was with. He was wary at first. Told me he didn't want to talk. I said I was OK with that, but it was just that I had come a long way to see him, and I didn't want to go home empty handed. He could see me channeling my inner Charley West, and said, "OK, five minutes."
I asked him what happened with the Royals and he told me that although he zoomed through the instructional league and was promoted quickly, that his heart just wasn't in it. He either wanted to play football, or go home to stay. He came home to Daphne during the middle of February, and sat down with his parents to discuss his life. He said that his mother, Vonametris, was afraid for him to play football anymore after being at Sun Life Stadium the day White suffered the concussion against the Steelers and suggested staying close to home to help the town that was still rebuilding after the Gulf Oil Spill.
He asked her what he could do to help. She suggested shrimping.
"Shrimping?" he repeated to me in the same manner in which he responded to him mother. "Shrimping? You gotta be kidding me." He said he went down to Bluff Park overlooking the Bay after he was done meeting with his parents and watched the ships come and go. He noted how there were less of them now that he remembered from when he was growing up. He told me it made him sad. He decided then and there, that he would take his mother's advice, and start a shrimping business.
He had a former teammate at WVU, Dan Mozes, who he knew loved to fish. He called Dan up knowing that he hadn't signed on with an NFL team and that a Lockout was probably coming, and asked for his assistance. White laughed, "He said, I'll do it on one condition. You have to call me Lieutenant Dan." Pat agreed, and three days later, Mozes showed up in Daphne to help Pat get started. "You know, Dan knew a lot more about shrimping that I knew. His mama cooked shrimp.And her mama before her cooked shrimp, and her mama before her mama cooked shrimp, too. Dan's family knew everything there ever was to know about the shrimpin' business."
"Me and Lieutenant Dan scouted out some boats that were for sale over in Mobile, but none of them would do. He asked me how much I had to spend. I told him, and he said, 'shoot boy, just buy a couple new ones.' So I did. Four of them as a matter of fact," he smiled.
I asked Pat if he liked what he was doing now. His eyes lit up. "Are you kidding me? I love it. Man, I get to help my community and I get to be around some of my favorite food in the world: shrimp. I got my dad and my brother Bo Jr. to help me and Lieutenant Dan out. Why, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich." He paused briefly. "That, that's about it."
He looked down at his watch, and held out his hand and told me that my five minutes were up. (Actually, it was closer to twenty.) I told him thanks, wished him good luck, got back into my car, and high-tailed it back to the Smoking Musket offices.
So after a storied Mountaineer career, Pat White has decided to settle down and do his bit to help the Gulf Coast get back on it's feet with the White Out Shrimp Co. We here at the Smoking Musket salute him.