Pack to join Methodist basketball

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By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

The headline above a feature story in The Roanoke Times this past fall proclaimed that ‘Austin Pack doesn’t know how to quit’.

Seems like the Galax multi-sport athlete still hasn’t figured it out.

Pack, a floor leader and field general during the most successful two years in Galax High School sports history, will give it a go for four more basketball seasons, having committed recently to play for Methodist University, an NCAA Division III school located in Fayetteville, N.C.

Though one would never guess it from watching the kid play, Pack’s medical history includes numerous surgeries and procedures for a long list of ailments, from a broken femur to a clubfoot to a torn meniscus. His joints are almost constantly in pain.

“I’m going to try,” he said. “I really want to try and see how [the knees] do. They have some really good trainers down there to take care of me. I’m trying to rest them as much as I can right now but I still need to work out and get ready.”

As a quarterback on the football team and a guard on the basketball team, Pack has been an integral part of Maroon Tide squads that for a two-year stretch have enjoyed successes that have been nothing short of ridiculous. The Galax football teams were a combined 24-4 the past two seasons, including a 14-1 mark culminating with a Group A Division 1 state runner-up finish with Pack throwing for 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns.

In basketball, the Tide went 53-4 during that same span, winning back-to-back state championships with Pack in the backcourt, averaging 12.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

Pack is also a pitcher-infielder on the baseball team and he has cleared 6-6 in the high jump, which in itself drew interest from Division I track programs at Radford and West Point. Methodist does field a track team and Pack said he wasn’t crossing off that option just yet, saying he really wanted to play college basketball.

“They called me late in the year, I went down to visit and I just really liked it, compared to other schools I had visited,” said Pack, who also considered Emory & Henry and Coastal Carolina. “I really liked the coach and all they had to offer.”

The fact that he is a four-sport athlete despite his aches and pains speaks well of Pack’s determination.

“I’m proud of Austin,” Galax basketball coach Verl Brown said. “He’s a gritty kid. He’s just been so fortunate to play through all the things he has had to play through, and he’s fortunate to be able to have this opportunity. I thought he might take an offer in track but it’s pleasant to know he’s getting a chance to play four more years of basketball.”