Thompson leaves his mark|Washington star
voted 2009 Male
Athlete of the Year

Published 8:12 am Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sports Editor

Austin Thompson, a charismatic
leader who exuded
nothing but class, was a consummate
professional for
the Washington Pam Pack.
He certainly left his mark
during his four years with
the Pam Pack. Thompson
was the star quarterback,
and an outstanding shortstop.
Thanks to his big arm, big
bat and big-play capabilities,
Thompson helped lead the
Pam Pack to playoff victories
in football and baseball.
It was the first playoff victory
for Washington in both
sports since 1998.
Because of his exploits,
coupled with his character
and leadership skills,
Thompson was voted as the
2009 WDN Male Athlete of
the Year.
“It’s an honor,” the always
humble Thompson said. “It’s
very surprising. I didn’t
expect it at all, and it’s very
dear to my heart.”
Darin Vaughan, the WHS
athletic director and head
baseball coach, said Thompson
was an excellent choice
for the award.
“Austin is certainly one of
the most successful athletes
I’ve been around,” Vaughan
said. “From his accomplishments
playing quarterback
to how good a shortstop he
was for the baseball team
for three years, he’s been
Thompson was tabbed the
WDN All-Area First Team
quarterback in 2008 for the
second straight year. He completed
nearly 60 percent of his
passes while throwing for 1,840
yards and 19 touchdowns.
The athletic Thompson also
ran for 212 yards and five other
scores while leading the Pack
to an 8-5 record.
Pam Pack head football
coach Sport Sawyer said he
enjoyed having Thompson as
his quarterback for the last
three years.
“He’s a very good young
man, on and off the field,”
Sawyer said. “He’s a total team
player and he was a very good
athlete at Washington.”
While Thompson put up big
numbers, including a perfect
9-for-9 performance with four
touchdowns in a win over
Northside, the three-year signal
caller was never concerned
with statistics.
“Being with the guys is what
was great about it,” Thompson
said. “I reached every goal I
strived for (as quarterback).
Numbers never really mattered.”
Showing poise in even the
biggest games, Thompson said
playing quarterback in a tough
Coastal Conference was never
easy, but he relished his role.
“There’s a lot of pressure,”
Thompson said. “The quarterback is the one who is always
under the spotlight. You’re
supposed to be the leader and
you have to be a role model for
the team, and everybody outside
of the team. It was good to
embrace that.”
Thompson was just as effective
on the diamond. As a
senior shortstop, he hit .365
with a home run, 13 RBIs, had
a .431 on-base percentage and
a .540 slugging percentage.
“I hung out with great guys
and great coaches,” Thompson
said. “That was the highlight.”
Thompson takes pride knowing
he helped lead his Pam
Pack teams to playoff victories
in baseball and football, ending
a decade-long drought.
“That stands out a lot,”
Thompson said. “I can always
say that I was part of two
teams that got to the second
round of the state playoffs.”
Thompson credits his parents,
Paul and Ruth Thompson,
for helping him succeed.
“They’re No. 1 on my support
list,” he said. “They were there
for just about every game, and
they did everything they could
for me.”
Thompson, who will attend
UNC-Wilmington, also had
praise for his coaches.
“Sport was always there for
me, always helping me out,”
he said. “He would always call
me after a bad game and try to
make me happier if I was sad.
“Darin was a great coach.
He would call me when I was
down. He was very supportive.”
While Thompson was a star
on the field, his baseball coach
said he shines even brighter
off it.
“He is a better person than
he is a player,” Vaughan said
of Thompson. “All of the
superlatives that you can give
a person and all the accolades
that a person deserves, Austin
deserves every single one of
them. I could not be happier
for him.
“Being Male Athlete of the
Year is a great accomplishment.
Hopefully, it’s something
that he’s going to look back on
and have a lot of pride in.”