Austin Box remembered for loyalty, love of family

BY JAKE TROTTER Staff Writer jtrotter@opubco.com Published: May 27, 2011

The latest injury was a bulging disc in August that forced Box to sit out the first five games last year. Still, he worked his way back, eventually regained his starting spot and made several plays that keyed OU's five-game winning streak to end the season.

“He brought so much life to our team,” Stoops said. “He always fought back from injuries. He always played well. He always helped us win championships.”

Box, however, was described as so much more than a football player.

He was selfless. Never cared who got the credit. Had an impeccable work ethic. And could make others laugh.

“The best part of what we do is dealing with the characters,” said Stoops, who also quoted scripture from Ecclesiastes. “And Austin was a character. And fun, fun to coach.”

Box possessed a self-deprecating sense of humor, which surfaced before the U.S. Army All-American Game, featuring the best high school players in the nation.

After learning that Box's defense was playing man-to-man, Cobble asked him what he thought about covering “that running back from Florida” on passes.

Replied Box, “He'll probably score.”

At OU, after the linebackers had completed film study of the upcoming opponent, Venables allowed them to put up YouTube videos. Box always wanted to watch “Les Miles interviews,” Venables said.

But Box's most admirable attribute was the loyalty and love he showed friends and family.

His two best friends from high school became his college roommates. He always placed his sisters on the pass list so they could watch OU's closed scrimmages. And the first person he looked to hug after every football game was his mom, Gail.

“He embodied loyalty,” Venables said. “Austin was a well-renowned mama's boy, his dad (Craig) was his hero and his two sisters (Courtney and Whitney) were his best friends.

“And he had no problem expressing that in a room where not a lot of guys are willing to express themselves.”

Said Burleson: “The greatest thing I can say about Austin Box is that he loved his family.

“And his family loved him.”

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