MORGANTOWN — Pat White, who’s now playing football in Canada, was a fourth-round baseball draft pick coming out of an Alabama high school to play quarterback for West Virginia University.
That was in the coach Rich Rodriguez era of 2005-08. For those four seasons, Pat White established himself as without doubt the most honored passing and running quarterback in school history.
With nearly 25 years of such a remarkable athlete’s career, he was asked recently whether there is anything he feels he might have changed looking back?
“I enjoyed every second of it,” White replied. “(But) some of games I lost, I wish I could go back and try to win.”
He didn’t lose many. That nation’s most versatile threat as a starting quarterback led WVU to a 34-8 record as a Mountaineer.
Percentage-wise, Fred Wyant still leads with a 30-4 mark from 1952-55.
White remains the all-time rushing QB in NCAA history with 4,480 yards. He also was the first to win four bowl games as a starting quarterback, including that memorable 48-28 upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2, 2008.
With Rodriguez on his way to Michigan, the late Bill Stewart orchestrated that all-time greatest win as interim head coach.
While that victory and all others are cherished by the talented quarterback from Daphne, Alabama, one in particular was recalled by him. That was against old rival Pitt by 45-27 on Nov. 16, 2006 in Pittsburgh. He remembers that he ran for more than 200 yards that day.
Another win that season that fans will remember was 41-39 in triple-overtime at home against Rutgers. The team finished 11-2 and ranked No. 11 in both polls for the year.
“I enjoyed playing football for both coach Rich Rodriguez and Coach Stewart,” White said. Stewart was his position coach before taking over the reins in Pat’s senior season.
“Bill Stewart respected West Virginia and the man took pride in representing the state,” he recalled.
“He told us what the state was about. He loved the program. He was a good coach and a person of care for his players, and tried to treat people with respect.”
White was recruited to WVU by Rick Trickett, then a line coach and now the offensive line coach at Florida State.
White, who excelled as an outfielder in baseball in high school, said the reason that Pitt victory stands out to him is that teammate running back Stave Slaton also ran for more than 200 yards.
White also won three-straight MVP awards in post-season bowls and set the Big East record on most touchdowns responsible for with 153.
In all, Playboy’s All-American on its 2008 first team set the Big East record for total offense with an amazing 10,529 yards — the first West Virginia player to top 10,000 yards.
He finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting as a senior.
White was selected by the WVU coaching staff three years in a row as the squad’s most valuable player. A three-year All-Big East selection, White set more than 20 school and conference records before turning professional.
He was widely known as a highly effective team leader with both respect and affection from those with whom he played.
At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he made himself stronger and more explosive in the weight rooms. Coaches here said he was so explosive that he seemed capable of scoring on almost every run.
White played in the Under Armour Senior Bowl game after graduating.
He was selected as the All-Big East quarterback and third-best overall player in the conference as well.
White was the winner of the Johnny Unitas senior award and the 2007-08-09 multiple winner of the Amateur Athlete of the Year Award in West Virginia. His native state of Alabama named him State Athlete of the Year in 2009.
A similar honor came from the West Virginia Chapter of the National Football Foundation.
White, who still visits Morgantown periodically, played with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Then he moved to Canada and joined the Edmonton Eskimos in 2014.
He’s still an active player.
“I enjoyed my years at WVU,” White said. “I met some great people in West Virginia. Both on and off the field, I left with a lot of fine memories, and they’ll last me a long time.”
Pat White also is in business with a former WVU student assistant coach Zach Gottfried. They now bottle and sell a new sports drink.
The drink is called Rehydrate. It’s available throughout West Virginia and also in Florida.