Following former Auburn High athletic director Chuck Furlow’s death last November, his loved ones decided to celebrate Furlow’s life by establishing a scholarship in his name. After much thought and consideration, the scholarship’s first two recipients have been selected.
Auburn High baseball player Caden Parker and softball player Taylor Godwin have been named the recipients of the inaugural Coach Chuck Furlow Memorial Scholarship. The scholarships will be given annually to one senior baseball player and one senior softball player from the high school who embody Furlow’s qualities of hard work, a great attitude, respect and dedication both on the field and off it.
“It means so much to me because I know how great of an impact coach Furlow had on the Auburn family,” said Godwin, who plans to attend Auburn University and study exercise science. “He was such a great coach and really strived to develop players to be well-rounded and great people.”
“I am extremely blessed and humbled to be the first to receive such a meaningful award,” said Parker, who will play baseball at Central Alabama Community College. “It is very special. Coach Furlow meant so much to so many people, including my family. He was a great man, and I plan on using this award to honor him.”
Molly Furlow explained the loss of her father was a shock to the family and the Auburn community, and in the aftermath the family decided to honor one of his greatest passions: helping student-athletes. In order to select the first recipients, the Furlows worked in conjunction with Auburn High’s counselors as well as Auburn baseball coach Matt Cimo and softball coach Matt Hendricks in order to make the final decisions.
Molly had planned to present the scholarships with her brother, Michael, at the high school during the annual senior awards ceremony in April. Because that didn’t happen due to the pandemic, Molly instead called Godwin and Parker to give them the news.
That experience, Molly explained, was just as meaningful as telling them in person.
“It was precious. They were so excited and were clearly such really good kids. I called Taylor, and she was really excited. She was a very sweet girl,” Molly said. “I actually got to FaceTime with Caden’s aunt and with Caden, and he was also super excited. It’s such a sweet family, and he’s such a sweet kid. Tears were shed by all. It’s definitely something that my family is going to keep up for many, many, many years.”
Molly’s calls helped reveal just how many lives her father touched through his near-four decade coaching and teaching career. It turned out that Furlow taught Godwin’s mother, Amy, at Gardendale High School, and Parker’s aunt has been friends with the Furlows for quite some time.
Furlow’s sudden death at 72 years old last fall left a hole for so many, including his family and the Auburn and Opelika communities he had been a part of for most of his life. Even with her father gone, Molly said she and the rest of the family are determined to keep his dedication to local student-athletes going.
“It means everything to us to keep his legacy going because of just how purely good and genuine he was — not just as a coach or an athletic director or even as a dad but just as a human. It’s because of how kind, respectful, humble and loving that he was,” Molly said. “We want to find the kids with those qualities that we can help push along and help with their college experience and the future careers they’re going to have.
“Knowing that a little scholarship in his name played a part in that and keeping it alive means so, so much to us.”