GRANVILLE, W.Va. – Morgantown native, and WVU Sports Hall of Famer, Jedd Gyorko, is back in the Mountain State after being officially introduced as the manager of the West Virginia Black Bears last week.
Gyorko, entering his first managerial experience, says he wishes the MLB Draft League was around when he was entering the draft a decade ago.
“This gives (players) a chance,” said Gyorko. “Gives them a chance to, again, play against good competition. Get a wooden bat in your hand, kind of get that feel, and then have instruction from major league caliber coaches and staff in a league that supports you.”
Gyorko never played at the Black Bears home, Monongalia County Ballpark, but he will be managing in a stadium that’s located on 2040 Gyorko Drive.
“Back when I played, we only dreamed about being able to play in a place like that,” said the new Black Bears skipper. “So, it’ll be cool. Hopefully when the kids walk in there they’ll know who’s in charge.”
Aside from teaching future major leaguers everything they need to know on the field to make it to the show. Gyorko also has knowledge of four different MLB franchises, including the Brewers faithful’s love of cornhole.
“People go out and they’ll tailgate before games,” said Gyorko, whose cornhole skills went viral on Twitter last year while the MLB season was paused due to the pandemic. “I guess I didn’t really notice that at the time. That was just kind of dumb luck I guess that when I put that video out there, the Milwaukee area kind of took off with it and then it kind of just kept going from there.”
Of course it’s the Morgantown area, and the state of West Virginia as a whole, that’s largely shaped his baseball makeup.
“All of those steps, high school, college, everywhere you’ve been kind of leads you to where you’re at now. The one thing that I can always say is, Morgantown and West Virginia has always been a part of that,” No matter where I’ve gone, where I’ve been, this has always been home and this has always been the place that I always come back to. I’d be understating to say how important this place is to me.”
Gyorko says that the rest of his coaching staff will be announced within the coming weeks. The Black Bears season begins, at home, on May 24 against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.