Washington honors Fred ‘Doc’ AustinPublished 6:30pm Saturday, April 27, 2013
It was worth the wait. After the rain had washed out the original Fred “Doc” Austin ceremony scheduled on Aug. 19 the powers that by saw fit to provide Washington High School’s longtime baseball coach/team doctor with an atmosphere that befit the man being honored.
A perfect sun splashed down on Futrell Field and soaked spectators with the right amount of warmth as friends, fans, former players and associates of all types came out in droves to recognize the retiring Austin, who has served on the Pam Pack baseball staff and as the school’s sports physician since 1985.
The ceremony took place before the Pam Pack baseball team took on Coastal Conference rival D.H. Conley as Austin and his wife Cheryl were summoned to home plate where it was announced the school would retire his No. 20, while the Pam Pack baseball team and coaching staff presented him with a framed No. 20 jersey and legendary basketball coach Dave Smith presented him with a plaque.
“It was a great ceremony,” Austin said. “(Washington athletic director) Allison Jones and principal Russell Holloman did a wonderful job in planning things. I appreciate (Pam Pack baseball coach) Ryan Whitney and all his coaches and all they did to make this night happen.”
During the ceremony the Washington baseball team wore shirts that bore the phrase “Rock ‘n’ Roll” on the back in honor of Austin and the gesture was appreciated by the guest of honor.
“I noticed the players were all wearing shirts that said ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ which for people that know me know that was my phrase for years out of the dugout,” Austin said. “I thought that was a very nice touch.”
Whitney said he was honored to be a part of the ceremony.
“When it comes to Doc I was just glad that myself and the coaches and players had the privilege of sharing that moment with him and his wife,” Whitney said. “I thought the ceremony went really well and was a fitting celebration for somebody that was well-deserving of it.”
Jones said she was happy to see the community come out in support of Austin, a Washington Walk of Famer and former North Carolina Trainers Association Sports Medicine Person of the Year.
“We were disappointed that we couldn’t hold the ceremony last week but seeing the weather and how it held up tonight I don’t think we could ask for a better evening,” Jones said. “We had a great turnout, I’ve seen so many former players and coaches and current student-athletes. You name it, the community came out to show their support for Doctor Austin.”
While Austin is most closely associated with baseball, he has helped out with all of the Pam Pack sports teams and football coach Sport Sawyer said he was thankful to Austin for his dedication to the football team.
“I think it was great for Washington to recognize Doctor Austin and all that he’s done for athletics here. I think it was a very good night,” Sawyer said.