It's been nearly three decades - Dec. 3, 1983 to be exact - since Austin made national news, despite being a seldom-used walk-on guard for two of Gale Catlett's teams.
The occasion of Austin's infamy was a West Virginia-Marshall game back when the teams still played on campus. At the Henderson Center in Huntington, Marshall was on its way to wrapping up a 78-67 win when, with less than a minute to play, WVU's Lester Rowe and MU's Robert Eppes got into a fight. Soon, both benches were up and there was, well, a bit of mayhem.
It didn't last long, and when it was over Catlett admonished Austin for leaving the bench. Austin, to say the least, did not care for being singled out.
So the walk-on guard from Bridgeport quit. He didn't just quit, though. He took off his jersey, threw it at the bench and walked off.
Austin eventually ended up transferring to East Tennessee State and had a much better career there (three years and with occasional starts, including one against Marshall three seasons later) than he ever had at WVU (one-plus seasons, 10 appearances, 23 minutes, three points).
Now, Jennings was a better player than Austin. And who knows, maybe Jennings will go on to do good things elsewhere - assuming Huggins doesn't take him back.
But Austin's legacy seems safe. Methinks that in another 27 years his exit will still be remembered above that of Jennings.
It just had style.
"I told them before the game, if you don't love basketball, if you don't love competing, if you don't really love it, you need to play the fiddle or the baritone or something,'' he said. "Guys that don't want to have teammates need to play golf and tennis. I mean, there are some tennis guys who never could have stayed on a team, but they're very successful on their own.''
Someone asked him, then, if he assumed that, say, John McEnroe might not have been a great teammate.
"I didn't say that,'' Huggins said. "If I would have said that, one of you guys would have put it out there and they'd have picked it up somewhere and all of a sudden I get a call from McEnroe and he'd have said, 'What the hell's your problem with me?' And I really don't [have a problem].
"I think his commercial sucks, but other than that I don't have a problem with him.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.