"I said, 'Go get back to the hotel, 'Google' him and see if you can learn something from that guy.'"
Small's program will be one of the beneficiaries of MU's new indoor practice facility, which will include a 300-meter track. But Waggoner, finishing his seventh season, seems doomed to play home games in Charleston and Beckley forever. I'm sure he is thrilled that WVU entered the Big 12 and is getting a ballpark just for the asking.
Waggoner has taken his lumps - two last-place finishes in a row are just one example - but he has developed high-quality talent. The pros are starting to mount: Eddie Rush, Steven Blevins, Tommy Johnson, Ryan Kiel, Kevin Shackleford, Shane Ferrell, Victor Gomez, Ian Kadish, Arik Sikula, Rhett Stafford, Greg Williams, Joe Church, Jesse Fernandez, Mike Mason and ...
Dan Straily, who has made 16 starts with the Oakland Athletics. But he was drafted in the 24th round in 2009, much lower than Blair was picked over the weekend.
"He was drafted 21st round in high school," Waggoner said of Blair. "He came to us throwing 88, 91 [mph], but he had some baby fat. He had to strengthen his body, strengthen his core. ... When he came in the program, he didn't have a good changeup; now he's got a great changeup. It's a big-league changeup."
Ballou finished his four-year career as MU's all-time leader in triples (16) and walks (129) and was second in stolen bases (64), plus he covered a lot of acreage in center field. He benefited from the MU weight program, which needs no apology - he bulked up from 165 to 205 pounds.
So how is Waggoner pulling this off, and how will he pull it off in a deeper C-USA lineup gathering in 2014?
"We have to sell them on the fact that we develop players," Waggoner said. "Other schools will go against us when we recruit somebody about our field situation. But the one thing we come back with other schools is we're developing players, getting opportunities to play pro ball. We don't bring in a ton of kids - we bring in guys and develop them, and they get the opportunity to play right away, and play in a great conference."
His team will benefit from that indoor facility, but sheesh - give than man a ballpark. Someday?
There isn't a challenge that MU and New England Patriots great Troy Brown won't take on, it seems. Last week, he continued to branch out in his media pursuits.
As you may recall, Brown spent the 2010 season as a radio analyst for Thundering Herd football games. He has performed radio and television duties in Boston, with WEEI and Comcast Sports, respectively.
Last week, he willingly went to Toledo to participate in something called the NFL Sports Journalism & Communications Boot Camp. He and 22 other current and former players attended a Toledo Mud Hens game and took their turns at the keyboard.
He won't say it in those words, but he found out you must have a few screws loose to do this for a living.
"Those kind of things are a little tough, a little out of my league," he told the Boston Globe. "The writing aspect, deadlines make it really tough. You don't know if they need 200 words, 300 words, whatever the space is, that's the challenging part."
Brown has taken a ribbing or two about all this media work. It seems he was a little camera-shy in his years with the Patriots.
"I wanted no part of media," Brown said. "It wasn't that I was trying to 'dis' the media, I just didn't like doing it ... I didn't think I did a good job when I had a camera in my face."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.