PLATTSMOUTH – Larry Austin climbed many of Plattsmouth High School’s athletic charts with his multi-sport skills in the 1960s.
He inked his name near the top of another PHS chart in late November with a major financial contribution to the school.
Austin presented Plattsmouth officials with a $25,000 donation to the Plattsmouth Activities Complex for Kids (P.A.C.K.) Project. Austin gave one of the largest gifts from an individual to the P.A.C.K. Project in its history. The Class of 1969 graduate said he was excited to help current Plattsmouth students with his financial resources.
“It’s my hometown and the school I graduated from, so I’ve stayed on top of things and paid attention,” Austin said. “When we got a notice about participating several years ago I wasn’t able to do it at that time, but now that I’ve retired I’ve looked at my finances and felt this was the time to help. I’m very pleased that I’m able to help out my hometown in a small way.”
Austin was inducted into the Plattsmouth High School Hall of Fame in 2004 for his accomplishments in many extracurricular activities. He participated in Math Club, Spanish Club, Student Council and Lettermen’s Club and was a member of the all-class play. He also earned three letters in both football and track and field and two letters in basketball.
Austin captured the All-Class Gold Medal in the discus at the 1968 state track and field meet with a throw of 159 feet, 8 inches. He won his second Class B state crown in the event the following year. He served as captain of the basketball team as a senior, and he was selected for a Nebraska All-Star squad of American Legion baseball players in the summer of 1969.
Austin continued his athletic career at Tarkio College and earned letters in football, baseball and track and field as a freshman. He then transferred to Kearney State College and was a member of the school’s bowling team. He graduated with a mathematics major and later taught classes at Palmyra, Weeping Water and Lincoln School of Commerce. He then entered the business world and helped sell a popular version of computer banking software. He currently lives with his wife in Lincoln.
Austin toured the high school campus with PHS Principal Jeff Wiles during a visit several years ago. He said he was impressed with the facilities available for sports such as track and field, football, soccer, baseball and softball. He said the Pittsburgh Pirates had offered him a chance to join their organization after he graduated high school, but he chose to attend college because he wasn’t sure how his abilities would translate on a professional level.
“If I had been able to play on the facilities that they have now, who knows what could have happened?” Austin said. “The facilities are tremendous now compared to what we had in the 1960s. I think it certainly would have made a difference in terms of how far I would have thought I could have gone in baseball.
“That was something that really struck me when I visited. I knew I wanted to help today’s students have the chance to enjoy these great opportunities that weren’t around when I was in school.”