Do-it-all Dan

At Waynesburg University, Dan Verhovsek was a three-sport athlete and is a pretty Dan good one

Dan Verhovsek is one of the rare Waynesburg University athletes to reach All-PAC honors for football and wrestling.

The senior’s accolades this year include an all-conference honorable mention for football as a linebacker and a Presidents’ Athletic Conference championship at the 184-pound weight class for wrestling. Verhovsek decided to play tennis this spring until the PAC canceled its spring sports season.

Did a ninth-grade Verhovsek see himself as a three-sport athlete in college?

“No,” Dan chuckled. “I wasn’t very good at any sports back then, but I’ve enjoyed every part of my athletic career.”

Dan had a smile that stretched from the coast to coast. He was a competitor at heart. Whether it was a practice, game, classroom, or an argument, he would ride to his grave if need be.

Dan was a dandy 15-year-old at the time.

Dan participated in football, wrestling, tennis, and track at Richland High School. Even though he “wasn’t very good,” he was a versatile and scrappy athlete.

At Richland, Verhovsek once got so competitive in a handball game that he tried to fight the school’s all-conference quarterback.

Early on at Waynesburg, Dan’s competitive edge didn’t change.

“He was the guy getting in the scrums and competing,” Waynesburg’s football coach Chris Smithley said.

“Grow” is an advertising slogan at Waynesburg, and Dan said he did a lot of growing over four years.

“I know as a freshman I was a bit of a hothead,” he said. “I’ve fixed that. I gained time management, accountability and social skills at Waynesburg.”

Smithley has also seen the change in Dan’s demeanor over the past four years.

“He grew in the aspect of believing in the process,” Smithley said. “You could see his frustration early on, then [he] started buying into taking the steps into being where he wanted to be.”

Even when frustrated, Dan carved out roles as a well-used backup his first two seasons in both football and wrestling. In Verhovsek’s junior season, he slid into a dandier role as a starter on both teams. Finally, Verhovsek’s senior campaign was his strongest after being recognized by the PAC in both sports.

Seeing him with my 20-year-old eyes, not much has changed since Dan made the jump up to 51 West College Street. Dan still carries that giant smile on his face day-to-day. He still argues with almost everyone about everything and won’t admit if he’s wrong.

Some student-athletes at Waynesburg complain about the workload that comes along with playing one sport.

Imagine what they would say if they played three?

Dan doesn’t get dampened by the workload. Oddly enough, he embraces juggling classes, studying, practices and workouts.

“Honestly, it’s helped me. It’s the way I’ve been structured my whole life,” Verhovsek said.

“I’ve always felt that during the spring season when I wasn’t as busy, it would be my worst semester because I wouldn’t be focused.”

Verhovsek seems to have a plethora of athleticism to do any sport, but the one he admits he is “really bad” at is baseball.