Bill Austin, the man that preceded Chuck Noll as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, passed away Thursday at the age of 84.
Austin originally broke into football as a 13th-round draft choice of the New York Giants in 1949. After playing guard with the Giants in 1949 and 1950, Austin spent two years in the service, returning to the Giants in 1953 and remaining until 1957.
After his playing days were over, Austin coached the line at Wichita University in 1958 before joining the Green Bay Packers coaching staff for six years. While with the Packers, Austin was the line coach under the legendary Vince Lombardi.
In 1965 Austin was hired by the Los Angeles Rams to be their line coach, but after only one season there, he was hired by the Steelers to replace head coach Mike Nixon, who had been fired after the team went 2-12 in 1965.
During his three years as the head coach of the Steelers, Austin failed to produce a winning season, going 11-28-3 during that span. He was ultimately replaced by Noll after the 1968 season.
Despite being out in Pittsburgh, Austin would go on to coach for 17 more years with six different teams and even became a head coach again in 1970 with the Washington Redskins.
Austin\’s last coaching job was with the New York Jets in 1985 where he was their offensive line coach.
Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney Statement on Bill Austin
Bill Austin was a great contributor to the growth of the National Football League as both a Pro Bowl lineman and coach. He was highly recommended for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ head coaching job by Vince Lombardi, who Austin served as the line coach for in Green Bay and Washington. Austin was an excellent person when he coached for Pittsburgh and our condolences go out to his family. He will be missed.