The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

June 5, 2013

Whitmore was 2-sport standout at WVU

MORGANTOWN — Darrell Whitmore, a native of Front Royal, Va., was an outstanding two-sport standout for West Virginia University from 1988-91.

He was a four-year starting defensive back in football and starting right fielder in baseball for just two years before being drafted in 1991 by the Cleveland Indians.

Whitmore, who was the only African-American on the baseball team, obtained from the late coach Dale Ramsburg assurance he’d be given an opportunity to make the baseball team.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder recalled in a recent interview that he had given the University of Maryland a verbal commitment earlier, but withdrew it when they told him he could play only football — not baseball.

“When I came to West Virginia, coach Don Nehlen said it would be all right with him for me to play baseball if coach Ramsburg agreed,” Whitmore said. “I’d heard a lot of people say things about Ramsburg and they turned out to be untrue.”

After recovering completely from a broken left leg suffered in the football regular-season finale of the undefeated 1988 football season, Whitmore joined the baseball team in 1989 and earned a starting job almost immediately.

“I was so happy to play both football and baseball,” he admitted. “My four and a half years in West Virginia were the best of my life,” he said.

Whitmore, who graduated with a degree in sport management, wound up being close friends with coach Ramsburg. It was a player-coach relationship he respected and admired.

Whitmore went on to play about 11 years in professional baseball, including three years in the major leagues with the Florida Marlins. That club took him in the Expansion Draft.

Besides Cleveland, he played in the minor leagues with Toronto, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati organizations.

He retired as a player in 2002.

Whitmore, who’s 44, posted outstanding statistics in football. He played in 45 games, made 204 tackles — 122 of those solos — and intercepted 14 passes. He ranks No. 6 overall behind three with 15 each, and broke up 11 passes.

In his book “Tales from the W. Va. sidelines,” coach Nehlen wrote: “Darrell Whitmore was a great football player as well as a great baseball player. Unfortunately, Darrell broke his leg in the final game of ’88 (his freshman year) and that really hurt us for the Fiesta Bowl.”

Whitmore said it hurt him just to watch that national championship loss (34-21) to Notre Dame.

His statistics for baseball as a Mountaineer were: 1989: 26 games, .407 batting average, 14 runs, two doubles, one home run, 18 RBI; 1990: 45 games, .386 batting average, 43 runs, 16 doubles, three triples, 10 home runs and 54 RBI.

For his three years in the major leagues with Florida, Whitmore played in 102 games and had a .203 batting average, 11 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 21 RBI.

Darrell and wife Ayana have been married nearly 10 years and have two young children. They live in McCordsville, Ind., just outside Indianapolis.

Whitmore, whose high school coach was former Mountaineer offensive guard Rick Pennypacker (1973-74-75), did some coaching himself in organized baseball. He also was a school teacher before starting a career in automobile sales. He’s now with Honda.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like Scout.com and Rivals.com stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo