Deciding to go back to college after ten years to finish your degree is a very difficult choice to make. In ten years everything will have changed, the professors, the classes, the technology.
Yet, for former Mountaineer and current Major League Baseball player Jedd Gyorko, the timing seemed just right.
“It’s kind of more of a weight lifted off of me, to get it done and get it over with,” Gyorko said to WV Sports Now. “It’s been something that I’ve just kind of thought about it for a long time and, more than anything dreaded it. The further out you get, the harder it is to go back. The timing just seemed right, it was just time to go back and get it over with and not have to worry about it anymore.”
Gyorko left WVU in 2010 after he was selected in the second round of the MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres. He said that ever since, he always wanted to eventually come back and finish his degree.
“More than anything it’s just something that I told my mom I would do,” Gyorko said. “Something that I want my kids to realize is that even with success and everything that I’ve been able to do, just let them know that academics are still important. Just give them the motivation to realize that if you’re going to start something, you should finish it.”
Readjusting to being a student again was odd, according to Gyorko.
“It was a little bit weird. I was definitely not used to writing papers again. Kind of weird with all the technology that’s happened, it wasn’t quite as advanced when I was back in school as it is now.”
After two semesters and five online classes, Gyorko earned a Regents Bachelors of Arts degree and was a part of the 2020 graduation ceremony that the university held online last Saturday. Gyorko, a graduate of University High School, started at his hometown college in the 2007-08 academic year. He was majoring in business, although he did not know what he wanted to do after he graduated.
“I was fortunate enough that I didn’t really have to go out and find a real job,” Gyorko, a seven-year MLB veteran, said. “I was originally in business, I have a minor in business as well but the classes that I needed to take weren’t offered online so I had to switch it up a little bit to the regents.”
Gyroko said he went to WVU because it meant he could stay home and remain close to his family. Even now, he still calls Morgantown home.
“It was always something that was important to me,” Gyorko said. “I could have gone to a different state, gone other places, maybe even some bigger name colleges, but nothing was ever home like here. I loved being able to stay with my parents throughout college and be close to my family and it’s still why I come back here and I live here. It’s always just been home and it’s something that’s always been important to my family and myself.”
Gyorko spent the 2019 MLB season split between two teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Even while away from Morgantown, Gyorko said he tries to keep up with WVU’s team and their run to hosting an NCAA regional last season.
Playing at the new Mon County Ballpark, located on the aptly named Gyorko Drive, Gyroko said he hopes the current Mountaineers realize how good they have it now.
“It was kind of an afterthought of us ever getting to a regional when I was here,” Gyorko said. “I’m glad they’re in a beautiful ballpark, I hope those kids don’t take that for granted. Take a walk down to Hawley (Field) and realize how good they have it now. It’s good to see that recognition, I appreciate everything they’ve done at WV and I hope they keep winning.”