Wed Aug 17 01:40pm EDT
The avalanche of voicemails and texts began minutes after the article was published.
Friends who Teddy Dupay hadn't spoken to in months called the former Florida guard on Tuesday to inform him of his bizarre connection to a Yahoo! Sports investigation into major violations committed by the University of Miami athletics program.
In a memorable passage midway through the lengthy story, Miami booster Nevin Shapiro said he used the alias "Teddy Dupay" to purchase the South Beach hotel rooms where he would host parties for Miami football players and prostitutes. Shapiro said he chose Dupay's name because he believed the 5-foot-9 ex-Florida guard's stature and physical features were similar to his own.
"It was screwing up my Android I was getting so many text messages," Dupay said Wednesday by phone. "My first instinct was, 'Oh no, not again' because it attached my name to a very negative situation, but I've realized I can't control what people think."
Whereas almost every other athlete and coach named in the Yahoo! Sports investigation at least has ties to Miami or to Shapiro, Dupay is more of an innocent bystander caught in the shrapnel from a bomb blast. He insists he has never met Shapiro, nor did he have any prior knowledge that his name was being used in that manner.
Perhaps Dupay wasn't more fazed by learning Shapiro chose his name as an alias because he has grown accustomed to being a lightning rod for public scrutiny since leading Florida to the 2000 national title game.
There were the gambling allegations that forced him to leave college prior to his senior season in 2001. There was the 30 days of jail time he served in Utah after pleading guilty to felony aggravated assault following a 2008 fight with his then-girlfriend. And there were the spate of negative stories that appeared in 2009 when he began promoting the legalization of marijuana for economic reasons.
"I've had my name pop up in much more bizarre spots than that article yesterday," Dupay said with a chuckle.
Now back in Gainesville coaching girl's AAU basketball, doing public speaking and encouraging others to focus on nutrition and health, Dupay says he's "in a very happy, very peaceful place." He credits some of that turnaround to a fitness program he's now promoting that has enabled him to shed weight and get back in shape this year.
Unable to play basketball professionally anymore as a result of a series of knee and back injuries that deprived him of his former quickness and athleticism, Dupay's weight ballooned and his self-esteem plummeted. In January, a friend introduced him to a fitness plan called the e84 Challenge, which inspired Dupay to alter his diet, work out more consistently and start doing yoga 90 minutes a day, three days a week.
Dupay has always had a knack for overcoming adversity by finding the positive in a tough situation, but he says his newfound physical and mental health has only enhanced his optimistic outlook. It's a mentality that served him well on Tuesday when he learned of his unexpected connection to the Miami scandal.
"The situation yesterday, I'm going to find the good and find the positives," Dupay said. "Clearly it had nothing to do with me. Clearly there was nothing I could do to stop that from happening. But if I can share my message and get people excited about a good comeback story, then that's something good that can come out of this."