Welcome back for another edition of WVU's Where Are They Now? The weekly column that is your one-spot-stop to catch up on former Mountaineers in their lives beyond Morgantown. In this post-Spring Game Edition we'll tell you about a couple former players who suddenly have career options.
We hope everyone enjoyed the Spring Game festivities yesterday where Owen Schmitt joined the Davisson Brothers in a pre-game concert, then the West Virginia Legends game prior to the main show. The game featured many of the players that we keep track of in this column, including Pat White and Renaldo Turnbull. Turnbull looked like he was there to show Bruce Irvin a thing or two... in dress shoes. So to answer the question: Where are they now? The answer, at least yesterday, was that most of them were in Morgantown. Two former baseball players make the column this week to go along with the weekly 'Marc Bulger It May Or May Not Be News' update. But first we'll start with what may be Pat White's next career move, followed by a basketball coach who reached out to Joe Mazzulla after the season to offer him job.
Pat White- Ben Kercheval of Metro News writes that Pat White has 'No Plans' for playing in Canada. The CFL has a camp going on in Orlando, FL this week to tryout prospective players for their league. The camp is comprised of players that are NFL free-agents. White technically fits that description. As source close to the situation said that"
"(White) was not in their plans. If he was, then he'd be here (in Orlando)."
White played in the Legends game before the Blue-Gold game yesterday, and had committed to playing in the game before any of the news out of Canada was revealed. He had negotiated a contract with Winnipeg, but they couldn't meet his salary demands. He can now negotiate with the Toronto Argonauts if he wants to. The article's slant was that White wasn't interested in playing in Canada. My belief is that if he had contract talks with the Argonauts, then he IS interested in playing in the CFL. If he wasn't interested, then why bother negotiating to begin with? We know about White's love for WVU, and the fact that he chose to be in Morgantown this week instead of Orlando shouldn't come as a surprise. If the CFL wants White, and White wants to play in the CFL, then the camp in Orlando is inconsequential.
The Virginia Destroyers of the UFL may also be interested in Pat White. The UFL has a free-agent setup similar to the CFL where players not attached to an NFL team can be claimed by a CFL team to potentially negotiate a contract with. This comes two weeks after White was 'claimed' by the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. With few NFL options available for White, at least he is drawing a good amount of attention from alternative leagues.
Joe Mazzulla- The former point guard just finished his playing career already has options. WVIllustrated's, Geoff Coyle, wrote that Mazzulla is wrapping up a Master's degree in Coaching along with just completing his 4th year of eligibility. Shortly after the season ended, WVU assistant coach, Billy Hahn, received a phone call from Gary Tuell, the head basketball coach at DII Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Tuell was in Danville, IL and tuned into the WVU/ Clemson game on the radio. After the Mountaineers defeated the Tigers, Tuell heard the postgame interview with Mazzulla and came away impressed.
"I thought, 'Wow, this guy is all into coaching and he's a bright kid and he's a tough guy,'" Tuell told Coyle. "All the things that I'd like to have as an assistant coach I thought Joe embodied, at least from the short time I could tell on the radio. It was just an inspirational thing."
After WVU fell to Kentucky, Tuell called up Hahn and asked him what he thought of Mazzulla as a potential coach. Hahn had high praise for Mazzulla and put Tuell in contact with the former PG. Tuell and Mazzulla have been in contact, and Mazzulla is going to visit the Ft. Lauderdale campus in the coming weeks to determine if he wants the job.
Jedd Gyorko- It's another week, and another glowing report on Jedd Gyorko, the former Mountaineer infielder who is making the transition to 3B in the San Diego farm system. Gyorko was named as the 19th best 3rd base prospect in the Minor Leagues by Baseball America. He currently plays for the Lake Elsinore Storm in the California Advanced Class A League. He is batting .384, has an on-base percentage of .459 to go along with a .589 slugging percentage. He has 3 home runs, 18 RBIs, and leads the team in doubles with 9.
Dustin Nippert- The former Mountaineer pitcher who played with the Texas Rangers last season now plays overseas in Korea for the Doosan Bears. He leads the league in ERA (1.23) and is tied for the league lead in wins (3). Nippert was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002 and made his major league debut in 2005. Baseball America named him one of MLB's most promising players at one point.
"I thought I’d have a chance to play in the MLB again, but the opportunities given to me weren’t good for me. So I had to look for other options through my agent, and then Korea and Japan came up. I just thought that Korea was the better choice. And I’m glad that I made that decision," Nippert told the Korea JoongAng Daily.
A lot of people in the league feel the Cardinals already have an understanding with pending free agent quarterback Marc Bulger. The Cardinals would have liked to sign Bulger last year, and coach Ken Whisenhunt lobbied for a deal, but Arizona had already agreed with Derek Anderson and management didn't see a way to bring in two veterans.
For Cardinals WR, and former Pitt Panther, Larry Fitzgerald, Bulger would be his second choice as Cardinals starting QB after current Eagle backup, Kevin Kolb.