When George Novak shows up for work at Woodland Hills on Friday, there will be a surprise waiting for him.
Lousaka Polite is in town.
“He doesn’t know I’m here,” Polite said of the longtime Woodland Hills football coach and athletic director.
Polite, one of eight Woodland Hills graduates who played in the NFL last season, was part of the crowd at the Petersen Events Center on Thursday night for the Pitt/West Virginia basketball game.
Only two weeks ago, he was at Super Bowl XLVI, playing fullback for the New England Patriots, his fourth NFL team in eight seasons.
He almost didn’t make it. Released by the Miami Dolphins in August, Polite sat out most of the year until Christmas Day when his agent called with the Patriots’ job offer. He played the rest of the season and also is signed for 2012.
When he was asked to choose between Novak and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Polite declined.
“They are both excellent coaches,” he said. “I am happy and proud to be a part of both organizations.”
Novak, though, holds a special place in Polite’s memory chest.
“He is part of the reason I am what I am now, the way he raised us to be men first,” Polite said. “Football players come and go, but your name is going to stick with you the rest of your life. The character he instilled in us, that’s lifelong.”
Polite will return for Pitt’s spring game April 14 and a charity event that night, “Dessert Tasting for a Cause. He will be joined by former Pitt players Torrie Cox, Shawn Robinson and Kris Wilson.
Polite said he is saddened by the apparent end of the Backyard Brawl.
“I love to play down there,” he said of West Virginia. “When you make a play or score, I love making the home crowd quiet. That’s the best part.”