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Bill Austin

Bill Austin - Football

 

Bill Austin turned his experience at Oregon State into a distinguished career in the National Football League as both a player and coach.

Born in 1928, Austin grew up in San Pedro, Calif., and reached Oregon State as a 16-year-old. He played offensive lineman for the Beavers for four seasons (1945-48), eventually filling out to 6-foot-1, 225 pounds.

In 1946, the Beavers were 7-1-1, losing only to UCLA. They tied Stanford. As a senior, he was voted to the All-Pacific Coast Conference team and played in the 1949 East-West Shrine Game. During his years in Corvallis, the Beavers were a combined 21-14-5.

The New York Giants drafted Austin, who earned a degree in biology, in 1949. He played seven seasons for the Giants, missing the 1951 and ’52 seasons while serving in the military during the Korean War.

Upon his return, Austin excelled and played in the Pro Bowl in 1954. His playing career ended in 1957, but he immediately became an assistant coach.

In New York, Austin played under Vince Lombardi, who was an assistant, and was one of 17 players from the 1950s Giants to become coaches in the league. Austin became the offensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers when Lombardi took over the team in 1959. In Austin’s six years in Green Bay, the Packers reached the NFL Championship game three times and won twice. He coached the offensive line for the Los Angeles Rams in 1965 before being named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1966, where his teams went a combined 11-28-3 in three seasons. Upon his dismissal, Austin rejoined Lombardi, this time with the Washington Redskins in 1969. Upon Lombardi’s death the following year, Austin coached the team for one season.

Austin coached the offensive line with the New York Giants from 1979-82 before retiring from coaching.

In four years as a head coach, Austin finished 17-36-3.

Following his career, he moved with his wife to La Mesa, Calif., and became a business owner.

Austin was inducted to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982 and into the OSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.