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May 23, 2014
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Oakland standout: Austin Nix shines on field and in classroom

OAKLAND — Austin Nix’s athletic career at Oakland High School ended Thursday night after the baseball team dropped an 11-1 decision to Reedsport in the District 4 playoffs at Roseburg’s Legion Field.

Nix, who became a three-sport athlete again as a senior for the first time since his freshman year, excelled on the athletic field and in the classroom.

The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder was an all-state tight end and defensive end for the Oakland football team, was an all-conference post for the basketball team and was a starting outfielder for the baseball squad.

He played a big role in the Oakers’ state championship football season in 2012 and helped them capture the state title in basketball the following winter. The Oakers also finished second in the state basketball tournament in early March.

His academic work has been nearly perfect. Nix, who turns 18 on Saturday, owns a 3.98 GPA and is the salutatorian (second-highest rank) of his graduating class.

He was selected to play in the Oregon East/West Shrine All-Star football game and will continue his football career at George Fox University in Newberg in the fall and plans to major in business management.

“Overall, it’s been outstanding,” said Nix, reflecting on his four years at the school. “We have some of the best coaches around and one of the most supportive communities. It’s a lot more to me than the win-loss percentage. It’s about team building — you go out and have a good time as well as being successful.

“I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything.”

Nix is highly-regarded by those who coached him.

“I had a great time watching Austin grow as a freshman to a senior,” said Ben Lane, the Oakers’ football coach. “What a super kid. Anything he did he put 110 percent into it and excelled. He was one of our three team captains (his senior season). He never was a vocal leader, but stepped out of it and became a vocal leader of our team last year.”

Jeff Clark, the school’s principal and boys basketball coach, says Nix did whatever was asked of him on the court.

“A joy to coach,” Clark said. “He worked as hard as he could and was willing to do the little things. He’s the FFA president, a great leader in school. Austin was a big part of our success and sets the bar high for others to follow. He’ll really be missed.”

Lane said Nix became a big weapon for the Oakland football offense during the team’s postseason title run in 2012. As a senior, he was the second-leading receiver with 22 catches for 404 yards and seven touchdowns.

He was probably more valuable on the defensive side last fall. Nix led the team with 105 tackles, set a single-season school record with 19 sacks, made four fumble recoveries and intercepted one pass. Nix was named the Mountain View Conference Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team all-state selection.

“Football is one of my biggest passions and to have an opportunity to play a few more years (at George Fox) is exciting,” Nix said. “Their coaching staff seems outstanding and I feel they’ll be able to get me to where I need to be. I can’t wait.”

Nix was thrilled to be picked for the Shrine game in Baker City. The game is set for Aug. 2 and features the top graduated seniors in 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A. Nix’s father, Brian, played in the contest in 1991.

“That’s the biggest highlight of the year for me,” Nix said. “When I saw that dad played in it, I told myself someday I’d like to be able to do that.”

Nix received a minor blemish on his report card this year when he received a B in calculus.

“I’ve always worked on taking challenging courses,” he said. “I’m taking quite a few college credits, preparing for the next four years of college. School isn’t my favorite thing in the world. I’m not big on book learning, but I have learned a lot by taking a wide variety of classes.”

• You can reach Sports Editor Tom Eggers at 541-957-4220 or by email at teggers@nrtoday.com

What a super kid. Anything he
did he put 110 percent into it
and excelled.

Ben Lane
Oakland football coach

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The News-Review Updated May 24, 2014 09:15PM Published May 23, 2014 12:40PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.