Coaching career over, Austin ready for next step

Published 10:05 pm Wednesday, May 7, 2014

MONTGOMERY — Butch Austin knew the day was coming for a long time, but even as it came to be, he wasn’t ready for it.

With the final out of the AISA State Championship Series Wednesday, Austin’s legendary coaching career came to an end.

Before making a slow walk down the left field to talk to the gathered reporters, Austin took a moment or two to collect his thoughts privately. In post-game interviews, his mirrored-lens sunglasses kept his misty eyes hidden and he fought through a cracking voice while giving quotes about his team performance.

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“I will miss it come spring,” Austin said. “I have been dreading this for a long time. You never know when the end is going to come, but the end is here. I am sad that we won’t have another chance to win it, but we had a good year and have built a pretty good program at Pike. I am very happy about that.”

Austin finished his career with 423 wins and one state title in 21 seasons as head coach of the Patriots.

He has seen thousands of ball players make play after play from his spot in the third base coaches box or bucket in the home dugout.

While Austin is sad he won’t be coaching any more, he is excited to have the opportunity to watch a ball player he has never seen play: his grandson.

Will Austin plays collegiately at Armstrong Atlantic State in Savannah, Georgia.

Austin will trade his dugout seat for a comfy spot in the bleachers.

“I am proud of him, and I love him,” said Austin. “I have never been able to see him play, because I haven’t had the time. I will be able to see him, and hey, I will probably watch Pike some too.”