REMEMBERING MICHAEL AUSTIN

Courtesy photo/Boling ISD

Boling ISD coach and educator Michael Austin is shown during a Bulldogs baseball game last season. 

The Boling community is mourning the loss of coach Michael Austin, who passed away this week.

The reason for the loss of life was not disclosed.

Austin, 39, was in his sixth year with the Boling Independent School District.

He had started the 2021-22 school year, but became ill Aug. 18, which was six days after school began.

He never returned, nor was he able to coach a game for the Boling Bulldogs’ football team, Boling ISD Superintendent Wade Stidevent said.

Austin was the defensive coordinator for the Boling Bulldogs’ football team, and the Bulldogs’ assistant baseball coach, according to the Boling ISD. He was one of nine coaches who was on the boys staff for the Boling ISD Athletics Department.

Stidevent said Austin was a valued Boling ISD teacher and coach.

According to the BISD, he was one of 26 people listed as teachers. He was also a special aide.

“People within our community and school system are devastated by this tragedy and this loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school, especially our students,” Stidevent said. “We have partnered with nearby school districts to ensure an adequate number of professionals are available to assist in grievance counseling as necessary.”

Which school districts were working with BISD wasn’t immediately known, but Friendswood ISD, where he previous worked, had those there remembering him.

“I had the pleasure of working with coach Austin in Friendswood ISD; he was a great leader of young men,” coach and educator Jamie Crocker said. “As the defensive coordinator at Friendswood High School, he would come talk to me about teaching our defense to the junior high school players. Such a great relationship builder and infectious laugh.”

Camille Merck, of Sweeny ISD, said “his passing was far too soon, and will be felt throughout his (current) school district and with his former (Sweeny ISD).”

Several parents said Austin made an impact on them, but especially their children.

“He watched over my boys, especially my youngest,” Amanda Lynn, of Boling, said. “He showed that he cared about his students. Most important he cared about my boy. It takes a village to raise a child and he was part of our village.”

Natalie Hoskins, of Friendswood added: “He left a lasting impression on my son while he was at Friendswood Junior High School for being the type of coach who taught life lessons and built strong, positive relationships with his athletes.”

Ruben Becerra, now a BHS graduate, was one of many athletes who was coached under Austin.

“For all the blessings and lessons (he) taught and gave me, I couldn’t thank (him) enough ... mad at myself for not remembering the last words I told (him),” said Becerra, who was taught to be humble and move about life in silence by his late coach.

When Boling ISD shared details of Austin’s death Thursday, Stidevent said at Boling High School, administrators began the school day with an assembly to acknowledge and help students to begin dealing with what he termed “a tragedy.” 

“Coach Austin will always be remembered as an outstanding person who is known for his strong character, dedication, trustworthiness, and loyalty; and is highly thought of by his students, peers, teachers, and administrators,” Stidevent said. “We understand there will be a variety of feelings and responses to coach Austin’s passing. The most important thing we can do is to be supportive and encourage the open expression of feelings.”

In advance of this week’s game against the Van Vleck Leopards, Bulldogs fans are asked to wear white attire in memory of Austin.

There haven’t been any details shared about Austin’s funeral as of press time. Stidevent said Austin died Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

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