News, Notes & Rumors – 2/5
Two sports – Mountaineer freshman quarterback Trey Lowe also is giving baseball a try.
Lowe arrived at WVU last month, graduated from Bolivar Central (Tenn.) High School a semester early to get a jumpstart on his college career.
Well, his college career will feature not just one sport but two.
An outstanding pitcher and outfielder for Bolivar Central as a junior last spring, Lowe recently was added to WVU’s baseball roster. Obviously with his scholarship coming from football, Dana Holgorsen is still going to want the young quarterback participating in spring drills when they begin next month. So it’s still a bit unclear how much baseball Lowe will be able to play this spring, but he’s always expressed the desire to be a two-sport athlete in college. And now he’s going to do both.
The last Mountaineer to try the football-baseball double was Garrett Hope. The Texas native was a reserve fullback and also linebacker during his three seasons with the WVU football team (2012-14). He also played baseball for West Virginia in 2015, primarily as a backup catcher. Hope moved on to the minor leagues after 2015 and spent much of last summer with the Ogden Raptors, a rookie league farm team for the L.A. Dodgers.
The last Mountaineer to start for both the football and baseball at the same time during his days at WVU was Darrell Whitmore. The Front Royal, Va., native was a member of the Mountaineer football team from 1988-91, starting as a safety. He also was a starting outfielder for West Virginia’s baseball team until being selected in the second round of the 1990 MLB draft by the Cleveland Indians. Whitmore eventually spent three years in the Major Leagues with the Florida Marlins (1993-95).
Coaching news – Joe DeForest is looking for a new job.
DeForest spent four seasons on Dana Holgorsen’s coaching staff with the Mountaineer football team (2012-15). He was WVU’s defensive coordinator the first year, and then after an unsuccessful run in that role, was moved to special teams (2013-14) and safeties (2015). DeForest’s contract was not renewed by Holgorsen after the 2015 season, but he found a new job in the Big 12, landing at Kansas where he oversaw the Jayhawks’ special teams the past two seasons. But KU’s head coach David Beaty is shaking up his staff after a 3-21 mark in his first two seasons leading the program, and DeForest is one of the assistant he let go. DeFo, who has spent 28 years coach at the FBS level, now is looking for new employment.
- Former WVU safety Jahmile Addae has found employment of his own. Addae, who played at West Virginia from 2001-05, worked the past five years for Rich Rodriguez at Arizona. Addae spent the first three of those years as a defensive analyst and then moved on the field to become the Wildcats’ defensive backs coach in 2016. But Addae was one of many Arizona football employees caught up in the wake of Rodriguez’s sudden firing on Jan. 2, and Jahmile was left looking for a job when UA’s new head coach, Kevin Sumlin, did not retain him. Addae has landed on his feet, though, recently accepting a job at Minnesota for second-year Golden Gopher coach P.J. Fleck.
With Addae’s new job, all four assistant coaches from Arizona who had West Virginia ties now have found employment at FBS programs. Calvin Magee is at New Mexico, Rod Smith is at Illinois, Garin Justice is at UNLV and Addae is now at Minnesota.
Sad news – You may have heard the sad news about the death of former NBA basketball player Rasual Butler and his wife Leah LaBelle last week due to injuries suffered in a single-vehicle car accident in near Los Angeles.
The tragedy had a WVU connection. A native of Philadelphia, the 6-foot-7 Butler spent his college days at La Salle (1998-2002) before going on to a 14-year NBA career with eight different teams. Billy Hahn became La Salle’s head coach prior to Butler’s senior season, and the pair helped lead the Explorers to a 15-17 record in the Atlantic 10. That was La Salle’s highest win total in a decade at that point. Of course Hahn would eventually make his way to WVU, where he was a member of Bob Huggins’ basketball staff from 2007 until retiring last summer.