Peach Orchard, AR - The family of coach Jim Austin and community members Thursday discussed who he was, not only as a coach but as a father as well.
The three children of Austin said they all received news that their father died earlier this week. Kippi Halfin, his daughter, said she received phone calls from her sister about what had happened. Blaine Austin, Jim's son, said he found out through Facebook.
Each one said the same thing about their father. They said in their youth, he was strict but humble. Halfin said her father strived to teach them to be good people and athletes. She said her dad was a family man through and through.
"He put family first," Halfin said. "I know as he got into coaching and stuff, you know how coaches are. They're gone at night. There's a lot of obligations but he made a lot of choices in his life. He may have could have furthered his career but he made choices that made sure he was here and that we stayed a family unit. That was so important to him."
Coach Austin influenced more than those in his immediate family. Former coach at Marmaduke, Jim Bowlin, said he knew Austin for years. The two coached high school basketball at the same time and Bowlin said he was a great coach. He said Austin wasn't the kind of guy to rant and rave during a game.
Since the news of his death was released, the Austin family has received many messages from strangers and friends giving their condolences. Blaine Austin says he never knew how much of an impact his father had until now.
"But you really don't know the level that he was at until this happened and just all the phone calls, and emails, and text messages and you see the level it is," Austin said. "It's pretty humbling."
There is a memorial page set up for Austin on Facebook for people to tell stories or support the family. A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 14 at the Hoxie Gym beginning at noon.