Writer, broadcaster, and perhaps most important, fan, are some of the words that describe Earl Austin, Jr.
Austin is St. Louis through and through, having graduated from both McCluer North High School and Lindenwood University. He now broadcasts Saint Louis Billikens basketball.
Despite his St. Louis background, the reason for the traditional local question, “where did you go to high school,” eludes him. “Yeah, I don’t know where that comes from,” Austin said with a smile. “I’ve been asked that, too, and now find myself asking that to people.”
Broadcasting puts Austin in unique situations that allow him to go places and see games that are special. Among these events is the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, better known as “March Madness.”
“March Madness is fun because it’s the best part of the season,” said Austin. “That one month there’s nothing like it in college sports. You have Selection Sunday, sitting, watching, wondering where you’re going or if you’re in.”
What makes the tournament exciting is the little schools that get to participate. “You have that first weekend with the Davids and the Goliaths,” said Austin. “Sometimes David gets up there and bites Goliath.”
Also, there’s a difference when seeing the tournament with a school that does not get in on a yearly basis.
“To have a team in it is great,” said Austin. “It’s one thing if you’re Kentucky or Kansas, you’re used to going. But if you’re a Saint Louis U, a program that hasn’t gone in 12 years, it’s another level of excitement and an amazing feeling.”
In addition to broadcasting SLU, Austin covers local prep sports from across the state of Missouri. In high school it’s equally exciting and a different level, said Austin. “I’ve had my brother and sister both win state championships, which is crazy.”
The state championships in Columbia remind Austin of the big stage of March Madness. “You go to Columbia and every school, every town is there representing,” said Austin. “I’ve been covering those games for 25 years and it’s March Madness at the high school level.”
Although Austin might be more recognized for his broadcasting of games, he is still a writer at heart. “When I was younger I had notebooks in school, whether it was social studies or math class,” said Austin. “But I always kept a separate notebook and was always writing down the lineups of my favorite teams, and I still do that to this day.”
With all of his different aspects of media, it comes back to writing. Writing is something he enjoys and helps him stay organized through all the games he has seen. Austin believes it is vital, not just for him, but for young people also to always write.
“Whatever you’re going into, know how to write,” said Austin. “If you know how to write, then you are ahead of the game.”
These are not just words, they’re a philosophy of sorts that has helped Earl Austin, Jr., become truly “awesome” when it comes to covering St. Louis sports.
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