Austin is known for many things, prying itself as the Live Music Capital of the World. What sometimes gets overlooked, however, is the countless athletes who come out of the area.
Here's a non-comprehensive look at the athletes who call Austin home.
The former first round pick by the Brooklyn Nets began his career at Round Rock High School before transferring to St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Austin. While in high school, Allen impressed scouts and fans with his athleticism and rebounding, helping the team become the McDonald's All American team in 2016. In 2016, Allen was named the International Basketball Federation Americas Under 18 Championship team for the U.S., where Allen and his team won gold against Brazil. After two state titles with St. Stephens, Allen decided to stay in Austin and committed to the University of Texas where he played one season for the Longhorns. Allen averaged 13 points and eight rebounds his lone freshmen season. His standout moment while at UT was his 22 point,19 rebound game against the University of Kansas. Allen was the 22nd pick in the 2017 draft and has averaged 10 points and 7.8 rebounds in his three NBA seasons.
Before he was throwing touchdown passes on Sundays, the New Orleans Saints quarterback was lighting up the scoreboard for the Westlake Chaparrals. After moving to Austin with his family as a kid, Brees excelled in baseball and football. In 1996, his junior year of High School, Brees led the 16-0 Chaparrals to the state championship winning Texas High School 5A Most Valuable Offensive Player in the process. In the two years as a starter for Westlake, Brees threw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns, making a 28-0-1 record. Even with all the high school success, Brees did not receive any scholarship offers from UT or Texas A&M. Brees would eventually end up in New Orleans, winning the franchise only Super Bowl and setting countless NFL records in the process.
Mark Calaway "The Undertaker"
One of the most famous wrestlers alive, Mark Calaway otherwise known as "The Undertaker," is an Austinite. The longest tenured wrestler with a 30-year career, The Undertaker is also a seven time world heavyweight champion with the World Wrestling Federation which later became World Wrestling Entertainment. Starting in the late 1980's Calaway began wrestling on the Texas circuit before moving from the World Champion Wrestling to the the WWF where he made his debut as Kane the Undertaker. The Undertaker is universally recognized as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and has had fellow Austin legend Mark Henry, the World's Strongest Man, and WWE chairman Vince McMahon both say that The Undertaker is their favorite. Calaway is now semi-retired and living in Austin.
Born and raised in Austin, Foles also played for the Westlake Chapparrals football team graduating in 2007. As the starting quarterback for two years, Foles threw for 56 touchdowns and 5,600 yards. Foles broke many of the records that Drew Brees had set while playing for Westlake. After graduating from the University of Arizona, Foles was drafted in the third round by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012. After a short stint with the Eagles, he was traded to the St. Louis Rams for former Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford before eventually ending back up on the Eagles team in 2017. Foles would take over for an injured Carson Wentz and lead the Eagles to an improbable 2018 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots, winning Super Bowl MVP honors in the process. Foles currently plays for the Chicago Bears.
(Michele Moore/ CC)
The Austin native attended Bowie High School where he was a two-year starter at running back and defensive back, winning district and state honors in the process. Griffin decided to stay at home and attend the UT where he started his college career as a true freshman. Griffin is ranked in the top ten in tackles at UT and his eight blocked kicks ranks second all time in NCAA Division I history. Griffin was also a major piece for the 2005 National Champion Longhorns team that was able to defeat the University of Southern California in what some considered the greatest college football game ever played. Griffin intercepted a pass at the goal in what was a major turning point in the game. The two time All American was drafted in the first round in 2007 by the Tennessee Titans making two Pro Bowls and being named second team all pro in 2010 during his nine-year career. Griffin and former college teammate Brian Orakpo co-own Gigi's Cupcakes in Austin recently.
The former Heisman Trophy winner started his career playing football at Lake Travis playing for the Cavaliers. While in High School, Mayfield had a 25-2 record winning the 2011 4A State Championship. Two years as the starting quarterback, the eventual No. 1 overall pick threw for more than 6,000 yards and 67 touchdowns. After starting his college career at Texas Tech, Mayfield eventually ended up playing for the Oklahoma Sooners where he had one of the best careers in college football history. The two time All American is the only walk-on ever to win the Heisman Trophy, college football's most prestigious award given to the most outstanding player. Mayfield also had the third highest number of first place votes ever for the award, totalling 732 first place votes. In 2018, the Cleveland Browns drafted Mayfield first overall. Baker showed that the Browns made the right choice quickly by setting the rookie quarterback touchdown record with 27. During the coronavirus pandemic, Mayfield had his Browns' wide receivers over at his Austin home to train.
The former No. 1 player Andy Roddick moved to Austin with his family and lived there for seven years before moving to Boca Raton, Florida to help further his brother's tennis career. Roddick had his first major victory when in 2000 he won the Australian Open junior singles title at 17. Entering the pros at 18, Roddick proved he was the real deal after beating No. 4 Pete Sampras in the Miami Masters. Later that year he beat No. 1 Gustavo Kuerten and had excellent finishes in the 2001 French Open and Wimbledon. In 2003 at 21 years old, Roddick achieved his goal of being the No. 1 player in the world, becoming the youngest American to hold the rank. In 2017 Roddick was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He currently resides in Austin.
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For years Austin has been one of the top 5 places to live in the U.S., according to an annual ranking from U.S. News and World Report. But this year, Austin dropped out of the top 10.
The publication ranked Austin at No. 13, down from No. 5 last year, No. 3 in 2020 and No. 1 in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Cities ranking in the top this year were No. 1 Huntsville, Alabama, No. 2 Colorado Springs and No. 3 Green Bay, Wisconsin.
So why did it rank lower this year?
The hot housing market is part of the reason. The report states "Austin offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income."
Still, Austin was the highest-ranked Texas city on the list. Adding to its desirability are its live music capital roots and the growing tech scene. The next Texas area on the list was Dallas-Fort Worth coming in at No. 32.
U.S. News says it analyzed 150 metro areas in the U.S. to make the list based on the quality of life, the job market, the value of living there and people's desire to live there.
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Austin parents and grocery store shelves are feeling the effects of a nationwide baby formula shortage.
Caused mostly by a February recall due to contamination issues, followed by the Abbott Nutrition factory closure in Michigan, the shortage has left Austin shelves barren. However, earlier this week, U.S. officials announced a plan with the facility to restart production.
In the meantime, local parents in crisis have turned toward the Mother’s Milk Bank to keep their babies fed.
HEB on East 7th has been picked clean of formula and is limiting purchases. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The milk bank—which takes donations from lactating mothers and dispenses milk to babies in the NICU—has been helping feed upwards of 30 families in need as the formula supply tightens.
According to the bank’s executive director Kim Updegrove, Mother’s Milk Bank has seen an uptick in calls from parents with healthy babies in need of help since the shortage began.
“We aren't used to hearing from families with healthy infants,” Updegrove said. “They're typically very upset, angry, frustrated, sobbing—it's scary to not be able to feed your infants. So in the past few weeks, those calls have been significantly increasing.”
Mothers are only able to donate if they are within a year postpartum, so Updegrove said they are constantly bringing on and retiring donors. While donors had been on a 30% decline leftover from 2021 when the shortage began, Updegrove said the shortage has led to mass community interest and more than 90 prospective donors in just the past few days.
“We and other milk banks are experiencing significant interest from the community—becoming milk donors and helping to turn around this crisis,” Updegrove said. “Every infant needs to be fed, every one of us can relate to that need, and we need to make sure as a community that it happens.”
Whole Foods downtown was also cleaned out of typical formula. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
While you may still be able to find formula at places like Whole Foods—which currently has goat milk, soy and plant-based formula in stock—Updegrove said it might not be what a baby needs.
Updegrove said it is best to buy types that say “infant formula,” as they are FDA approved and will provide the nutrients, vitamins and minerals a baby needs. Plant-based, homemade, non-cow's milk or diluting formula may not provide the same nutritional value.
As the community navigates the shortage, Updegrove said the most important way to help out is to not panic buy or stockpile.
“This is a crisis for families,” Updegrove said. “This is the time for the community to gather together and figure out what everyone can do to help families with young infants.”