By LARRY VAUGHT
He’s a former high school quarterback who now throws the javelin for the Lindsey Wilson College track team. But Austin Sparrow’s passion remains basketball.
The former three-sport standout at Mercer County is a senior at Lindsey Wilson this year. He was fourth in the javelin in the Mid-South Conference last year — “Something about throwing the javelin just appealed to the quarterbacking me,” Sparrow said — after starting his collegiate athletics career as a sprinter.
However, he’s also a student assistant on the basketball team and hopes to pursue a college coaching position going forward.
“I will be doing my student teaching next semester,” Sparrow said. “My goal for myself is college coaching. I am certainly not against teaching and high school coaching but I have set a higher goal for myself because basketball is my passion. I’ve been around sports my whole life and hope to continue doing that.”
He charted offensive efficiency for Lindsey Wilson coach Paul Peck from his seat on the bench last year. This year new Lindsey coach Keith Adkins has put him in charge of a building an internet page for the basketball team to get more exposure for the players and program.
Late last year in the NAIA national tourney Sparrow actually put on a uniform because the team was down to seven healthy players. Peck asked Sparrow to be ready to play if needed, which he was glad to do. However, he did not play in the national tournament.
His father, Casey, and mother, Lisa, have both coached basketball. His father was always his main coach in middle school but his mother was also a head coach of one of the Mercer middle school teams.
“She definitely gets a little more excited than dad,” Austin said. “Dad is more level headed. He tries to calm you down and reason with you. Mom was more stern and animated.”
Sparrow likes to think his coaching style is a combination of both parents.
“If someone is not doing right, I will tell them how to fix it,” he said. “I prefer to show you how to do it right and show you what the right way is. But I can also be stern myself if needed to get a point across.”
He’s already been offered a job for next season at Combine Academy, a national boarding school and professional sports performance center located near Charlotte, N.C.
“It’s kind of like a prep school focused on basketball and academics at the same time,” Sparrow said.
He’s already reached out to Division I basketball programs about the opportunity to be a graduate assistant coach next season. That’s a route many current Division I head and assistant coaches have used to start their collegiate coaching career.
“I think doing that I could really learn a lot and if an opportunity like that came along, that would really be great,” Sparrow said.