Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Star pitcher returns to WSU after 22 years

Being at Washington State University was the greatest time in his life. Then he got a better offer.
In June 1988, Cougars baseball star Dave Wainhouse became a No. 1 draft pick for the Montreal Expos. The pitcher was the 19th player selected and, to this day, WSU’s highest-drafted player. He had a 7-0 record, and was a 20-year-old junior. His signing bonus was estimated at $100,000.
“I’m not looking to leave WSU,” he told The Spokesman-Review at the time, “but I don’t know how you can pass this up.”
Wainhouse delayed his start with Montreal just long enough to pitch for Canada in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He played professional baseball for a dozen seasons in 17 cities, including three games for the Seattle Mariners, before retiring in 2001 to become a private pitching coach.
In 2008, he was hired by Seattle University’s Redhawks. But his pitching job had a big catch: No salary.
More... “To be a full-time coach at a Division I school, you have to have a degree,” said Wainhouse, who was in Pullman for the Redhawks vs. Cougars season opener. “They said you’ve got to finish your degree. I said OK.”
Seattle U has listed Wainhouse as a volunteer until he earns his diploma. He wanted to return to WSU, but his job and home are on the West Side. So he enrolled in WSU Online, where he’s majoring in social sciences, and has a 3.2 GPA.
That would be closer to a perfect 4.0, except he’s an outdoors kind of guy, as evidenced by his sunburn, and doesn’t like computers.
“I’m never around a computer. I don’t own one,” he said. “Ideally, I’d like to print out a schedule of tasks at the start of the semester and never turn the computer on again.” One of his few low grades came when he misread his schedule.
He has made one concession to the electronic age. He bought a Blackberry for e-mailing. That’s as far as he’ll bend: “I hand-write my papers,” he said, “and someone types them into Word for me.”
Looking back, Wainhouse doesn’t regret snapping up the chance to play for Montreal. But he has a different message for the high school students he coaches.
“They shouldn’t leave school,” he said, “unless the offer is a life-changer, in the $3 million to $4 million range.”
That advice changes if they’re “really bad students.” For them, a $50,000 offer might be enough to tip the balance in favor of leaving school. Even that doesn’t let them off the hook.
“As soon as you get home for the off season,” he tells them, “enroll in college. Keep working on your college. Then, if your knee blows out, you’ll have other options.”

1 comment:

  1. Drafted in the 13th round to Seattle Mariners as left handed pitcher during junior year @ WSU. Said they would offer $15k per year. Said would talk to them next year after I received my degree and pitched an even better year. That summer in Cape Cod league ball, hurt my shoulder. No offer to play pro ball after that but I had my degree and have put it to good use.