There’s been stories told about a lot of generous gifts over the years from professional athletes who have given back to their alma maters and their sports programs.
New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson donated $5 million just last year to the University of Illinois-Chicago to put up a new baseball stadium to be named after him.
Detroit Lions bad boy Ndamukong Suh had an act of kindness by donating $2 million to the athletic department at Nebraska University and another $600,000 to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering to endow a scholarship.
While not having the deep pockets of those professional athletes, Austen Stewart was able to give back in his own way.
The 2013 Princeton High School graduate and Tiger high jumper has helped bring a high jump pit back to his alma mater. Stewart is now a freshman jumper at Aurora University and when AU brought in a new pit this year, Stewart was able to land the old one for PHS.
“The school (AU) was going to just throw out the old pit. My coach contacted me and asked if I would be interested in it, so I contacted coach (Dan) Foes to see if (PHS) would be interested in the pit that we had, so the next step was just getting it to the school,” Stewart said.
While PHS had just got a new high school standardized pit last year, the one it acquired from AU is an Olympic size and much bigger and will better serve PHS jumpers for years to come.
“Over my four years jumping at PHS I had seen multiple people not reach the pit or jump off of the pit, and the nice thing about this pit is it is Olympic size and it also has the front piece which goes under the bar,” said Stewart,who has set the AU high jump record this year at 6 feet, 3/4 inches. “I also understand how expensive pits are and I know they will put it to a good use.”
Foes deeply appreciated the kind gesture from his former jumper.
“It is always nice to see that former athlete is thinking of us. Austen is a great kid with a big heart,” he said.
• Basketball bloodlines: Grant Prusator, grandson of former longtime Tiskilwa High School basketball coach Bob Prusator, will play basketball for Indiana State University. The former Rochelle Hub played one year at Highland Community College in Freeport, averaging 13 points and shooting 42.7 percent on three-point shots.
The 6-1 forward poured in 32 points in his last game for Highland to eventual NJCAA Division I champion Jones County (Miss.), connecting on 7 of 8 from beyond the arc.
His father, Todd, played for his father at Tiskilwa.
Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.