By Tim Chambers
The naming of Johnson County’s football field in honor of its legendary coach Harold Arnold just a few years ago was only fitting and well deserved. Once again the school administration picked the right man to name its high school basketball court after.
Current head coach Austin Atwood was surprised on Friday night to see dozens of his former players there to honor him for collecting his 300th career win. But he was shocked at what followed.
Atwood was given the game ball used in the win against Sullivan South where he got number 300. He also received a plaque by JCHS principal Lisa Throop to be placed in the trophy case as a reminder of that historic event.
Assistant boys’ basketball coach David Arnold unveiled a large wall framed memorabilia containing pictures and articles about his past playing and coaching days and some of the presents to be hung at home.
But it was the final thing that brought the house down.
Director of Schools Dr. Mischelle Simcox along with Johnson County School Board members walked onto the middle of the floor and announced that the basketball court inside of Johnson County High School would be known as Coach Austin Atwood Court effective immediately.
A standing ovation followed as Atwood, his wife, two sons and family members looked on. Coach Arnold laid a transparent glass piece with the logo “Coach Austin Atwood Court” near the
midcourt line that will be painted on both sides of the gym floor.
Atwood touched on the honor and what it meant after his team had beaten Happy Valley 61-50.
“I don’t normally get emotional but to see all my former players show up was something special to me,” said Atwood. “I don’t know if I deserve having the court named after me, but I’m humbled by it. The award was the work of many special people in my life. David Arnold has been with me for almost 20 years, and I’ve got the best wife that a coach could ever ask for. She knows what kind of drive I have for these kids, and she sacrifices a lot because I spend a lot of time here.”
The Longhorns are currently 21-4 and ranked No. 10 in this week’s Associated Press Class AA boys’ basketball poll. Atwood has brought the team this far despite having to replace four starters off of last year’s squad.
Principal Lisa Throop touched on how it all got started.
“Coach David Arnold had been keeping up with everything and brought the idea to me about naming the court after him. We brought it to Dr. Simcox’ attention and the boards, and it all took off. He’s done a terrific job not only as our basketball coach but as athletic director too. He is well deserving of this honor.”
Atwood wears many hats including coaching his son Carter’s Junior Pee Wee football team. Spending time with family and coaching his kids is something he enjoys more than anything.
“I love getting to coach Carter in football and Blake
in basketball. I’ve been blessed to be around good kids for most of my life and this year has been extra special. I can’t describe in words how appreciative and humbled I am at receiving this award. It’s something I
would have never dreamed of. I tear up just thinking about it.”
Atwood’s son Blake came into the coaches’ office after scoring 26 points against Happy Valley and gave me the best quote of the night.
“I told dad to call Coach John Dyer and tell him he wasn’t the only one who had a gym named after him. I’m just glad I got to be a part of it.”