Austin Maggard’s season was cut short following a shoulder injury against Letcher Central, but the standout senior had left his mark on the Harlan County program long before then.
“The kids really look up to Austin. He is a team player,” said Harlan County coach Tom Larkey. “He never complains about anything. He is the kind of player you can win with.”
Maggard has been a fixture in the Bears’ lineup since he was a freshman, and is one of the few players to start for four years at Harlan County.
“When he was a freshman coach (Ovie) Canady was looking for someone that could come up and hit from that corner position. He had looked at three or four different people as possibilities and still couldn’t find what he wanted,” Larkey recalled. “So, coach (Scott) Caldwell said to bring Austin up, because he remembered him from middle school. We brought him up there and we found out right then that he was the right guy for the job. He has made a great defensive player for us.”
Maggard was one of Harlan County’s top receivers on the offensive side of the ball, but was asked to move under center this season.
“You have to know where everyone has to go on every play, in case they don’t know their responsibility. You have to be a leader and always lead by example,” Maggard said of his new position.
While Maggard is a standout on the football field, he shines just as much off of the gridiron.
“Austin is a good leader and a great kid. I love being around him, and the kids love being around him. He always has a smile on his face,” Larkey said. “He is not one that does any kind of complaining. He just does his job.”
It’s that demeanor that makes Maggard a leader for his teammates.
“I just always try to be positive out there on the field, and be happy about what I am doing. I have always wanted to play football,” he said. “I don’t really lead by yelling at people, I try to lead by example. I just try to get them to follow my example by always showing up on time for practice and always working hard in the weight room.”