EMPORIA (KSNT) – Former Emporia State point guard Austin Downing’s playing career may be over, but his coaching career is just getting started.
“I just want to be around the game for as long as I can,” Downing said.
“ThADowning Way” is the name of his new basketball development company.
“He’s making an impact on young people while utilizing the game of basketball to do just that,” said Emporia State head basketball coach Craig Doty.
“Austin is intelligent, Austin works hard, he’s just a smooth dude,” said assistant coach Evan Lavery. “Austin is the type of guy that has that type of personality that you can go into the fight with.”
Downing’s also coaching an AAU team out of Atchison, and he’ll be the freshman boys coach at Lawrence Free State next year. He plans to work in the special education department at Lawrence Free State in addition to his coaching duties.
His grandfather, Chic Downing, was an NAIA All-American and was later drafted by the New York Knicks. He also went on to be a coach. He’s the reason Austin is doing what he’s doing today.
“After his funeral and just being around everyone, hearing all those stories, everything people had to say, it kind of just made me say ‘Oh I can’t let this go away, we have to have him live forever,'” he said.
Downing played only one year at Emporia State, but the impact he made on the Hornet basketball program will last many more.
“Any time a younger student-athlete can see a guy like Austin and how he operates on a daily basis, his habits and what he’s all about, it’s great for culture building within our program,” Doty said.
He’s also making his mother proud.
“I’m super proud of him and I know for a fact that my dad would be proud of him and the man that he’s became,” said Austin’s mother, Shauna Downing.
Someday, perhaps, Doty and Downing will work together.
“Austin Downing would be a guy who is certainly on my A-list for potential future assistant coaches,” Doty said.