University of Washington

Dad’s the third base coach, so UW receiver Dante Pettis is all about the Astros

Washington WR Dante Pettis relishing family connection to World Series

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Some players use the bye week to visit family. Others stay on campus to get rest. All Dante Pettis did was have a front row seat to the Houston Astros’ run to the World Series.

Pettis, who is Washington’s star senior receiver and return specialist, said Wednesday he’s been blown away by the Astros’ postseason success. His father, Gary, is a third base coach for the Astros, who lost the opening game of the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday. Game 2 starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

“It’s just so crazy how it all happened. I feel like it happened so fast,” Pettis said. “The baseball season is extremely long but I feel like this postseason flew by and we’re already in the World Series and it’s exciting to watch.”

Pettis flew to New York City during the Huskies’ bye week to watch the Astros face the New York Yankees. The Yankees held a 3-2 series lead until the Astros won the next two games in Houston to set up a showdown with the Dodgers.

Having a father in the World Series does have its benefits. Yes, there’s flying to games and hanging out with star athletes. Or in Pettis’ case, it’s hearing how other players across baseball have taken an interest in what he’s doing with the Huskies.

Pettis is enjoying one of the better seasons of any player in college football. He was named a mid-season All-American by several publications including The Associated Press.

He tied the NCAA record for eight career punt returns for a touchdown. Pettis also has 44 receptions for 472 yards and six touchdowns.

“There’s players from all over the MLB that my dad talks to frequently when they are at third base,” Pettis said. “He’ll say they’re checking up on me and that, ‘so-and-so is saying they’re watching your games.’

“ ‘They said, ‘Good job.’ and I’m like, ‘What? No way! They’re watching my games?’ I think that’s one of the coolest things.”

Pettis said it’s been a little hectic to fly back and forth but added he’s “grateful” to even have the experience.

“Hopefully, we can steal a win tonight,” Pettis said.

He’s obviously going for the Astros. What about Huskies?

UW offensive line coach Scott Huff said most players on the team are more into the NBA than the MLB.

As for the coaching staff, there’s quite a bit of interest in the World Series. Huff said defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski and offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith are Dodgers fans. Huff said he grew up a St. Louis Cardinals fan but is cheering for the Dodgers because of his loyalty to the National League.

So what’s it been like for those on the team with an actual rooting interest?

“I haven’t really noticed but I know in the O-Line room, out of the older guys, we had eight guys pulling for the Dodgers and only four who are pulling for the Astros,” Huff said. “Southern California is a bigger recruiting base than Houston for us, as you know, and some of them pick teams because they don’t totally pay attention.”

Ryan S. Clark, @ryan_s_clark