MC Alumnus Tre Austin Plays Up Mississippi Roots
May 5, 2014
Sports have always been a big part of Tre Austin’s life.
It all began when Tre played in his Jackson neighborhood park, continued at Callaway High and accelerated as a small forward with the Mississippi College basketball team.
His fascination with sports led the 26-year-old Mississippi native to represent basketball players then musicians and, finally, actors with NBC’s hit series “Chicago P.D.” Last year, Austin helped promote the movie “Mississippi Gridiron Gold” showcasing the state’s incredible high school football coaches and telling why fans love the game in small towns on Friday nights.
Despite his growing success with the Austin Management Group, with its offices in Chicago and Ridgeland, Mississippi, Tre remains closely connected to his roots in the Magnolia State.
“Mississippi College helped me out,” Austin said on a visit to his alma mater in early May. “It taught me to meet deadlines. With hoops at MC, I was used to winning. I hate to lose.”
He played under basketball coach Don Lofton that won as many as 29 games in one season and advanced to the NCAA’s Division III Sweet 16 a few years back. “When I played ball we lost 15 games in four years.”
The recipient of an MC bachelor’s degree in the administration of justice in 2010, Tre learned even greater lessons off the court.
“MC definitely helped me from a moral standpoint and spiritual standpoint,” Austin said. “Being from Jackson gave me balance – it is my system of being grounded.”
Returning to the Clinton campus Monday, Tre visited with coach Lofton, dined with President Lee Royce and chatted with favorite Mississippi College professors like Mignon Kucia and Harry Porter. The director of the Administration of Justice Program, Dr. Porter “was one of the guys who pushed me to be successful.”
In the middle of recruiting season as the Choctaws get ready to return to NCAA Division II ranks and the Gulf South Conference this fall, Lofton tossed out some nice words about his former player.
“Tre is a great guy, good student and smart player,” Lofton said before the two men talked about the NBA playoffs and college recruiting at his office at the Golden Dome.
During his Jackson area visit, Austin caught up with New Orleans Saints Hall of Famer Deuce McAllister, and former NBA standout Clarence Witherspoon, an ex-star at Southern Miss.
A Morton native who starred at Ole Miss, Deuce told the MC grad his work behind the scenes is getting noticed. “That made me feel great,” Austin said.
Whether he’s flying in jets to California, or fielding a constant barrage of calls on his cell phone, Tre’s work ethic is non-stop. “I will push clients as far as I can,” he said. “Their success is my success.”
Tre is from a talented sports-oriented family. His older brother, Patrick Austin, is the head football coach for the Callaway High Chargers in Jackson.
Tre has worked as a personal manager to actor LaRoyce Hawkins, who’s in the cast of the TV series “Chicago P.D.” The riveting drama explores the lives of the men and women with the Chicago Police Department as they combat crime. The NBC show is filmed in the Windy City. It’s no coincidence that Austin keeps an office that’s not far away in the Illinois metropolis.
But he doesn’t just hang out with celebs.
Over the years, the Austin Management Group has represented former Mississippi College basketball guard/forward Clarence Jeffery, who was a star with a pro league in Mongolia. The Madison Central High grad now teaches and coaches in China. His firm also represents Lonnie Vasquez, a former MC shooting guard who’s among the top players in a pro basketball league in Mexico.
Tre Austin works with six other colleagues at the Austin Management Group that includes a financial adviser. Sometimes, Tre advises clients before they post Tweets going around the world. He prefers to stay behind the scenes.
“I don’t like the camera a lot,” Austin says. But he enjoys speaking engagements before young audiences - from Jackson State University to Illinois schools. His message? He always encourages kids to get an education and pursue their dreams.
Photo: Former Mississippi College basketball player Tre Austin, who represents TV stars and pro basketball players, among others, with his management group, returned to his alma mater in early May. Tre's company, Austin Management Group, maintains offices in Ridgeland, Miss. and Chicago.