FOUKE, Ark. – Taylor Hardin had hundreds of fans in Southwest Arkansas cheering her on and off the basketball court this past winter. Fouke’s junior sensation was being treated for a blood disorder that could have become a tragedy. She survived that battle and was Fox Sports Texarkana’s Girls Player of the Year.
When Fouke’s girls basketball team qualified for the 3A state tournament last March in Osceola, folks in Northeast Arkansas were informed of Hardin’s problem. Soon after she had even more fans from all over the state.
That’s when Allen Russell, the founder of “42 Sports”, and Osceola businessman Steve Knox came up with the idea of a courage award.
“I work with Allen part-time and we do this type of recognition because we love it,” said Knox. “We met coach (Mo) Williams, and interviewed him prior to the state tournament on our show. That’s when we learned of Taylor’s problems and health issues. She exemplifies what it is to be courageous, and a leader. Taylor has the heart and determination to excel.”
Courage Award named after Taylor Hardin
There were several athletes nominated, but Russell and Knox kept coming back to Taylor. That’s why the first 42 Sports Courage Award was named, “The Taylor Hardin Courage Award.”
“My treatment last winter was somewhat similar to taking chemo; it was pretty terrible,” said Taylor. “I feel good now, and my energy is back. I go back to the doctor in July to make sure by blood count hasn’t dropped. Getting this award is pretty awesome. Some good has finally come out of this.”
Hardin’s basketball coach (Williams) is excited because his player now has aspirations of playing college basketball.
“We sat down and talked about what she needed to improve on,” said Williams. “She’s been in grind mold ever since. Taylor plays against the varsity boys with our other girls. She shoots the boys’ ball as well as the girls’ ball. Now that’s crazy. She wants to play local, and the Texas A&M-Texarkana coach came out here to visit and see some video.”
Oddsmakers are saying don’t bet against Taylor Hardin playing basketball at the next level. She’s got the intangibles to do it.