Bill Austin

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For other people named Bill Austin, see William Austin (disambiguation).
Bill Austin
Candid black and white chest-up photograph of Austin wearing a white Redskins polo-style shirt
circa 1973
No. 75, 60
Position: Offensive lineman
Personal information
Date of birth: (1928-10-18)October 18, 1928
Place of birth: San Pedro, California
Date of death: May 22, 2013(2013-05-22) (aged 84)
Place of death: Las Vegas, Nevada
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 223 lb (101 kg)
Career information
High school: Woodburn (OR)
College: Oregon State
NFL Draft: 1949 / Round: 13 / Pick: 126
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Head coaching record
Regular season: 17–36–3 (.330)
Coaching stats at PFR

William Lee Austin (October 18, 1928 – May 22, 2013) was an American football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a lineman for the New York Giants for seven seasons and was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers (19661968) and the Washington Redskins in 1970.[1][2][3]

Early years[edit]

Born in San Pedro, California, Austin was raised in Oregon and graduated from Woodburn High School, south of Portland.[4][5] He played college football at Oregon State College in Corvallis, earning All-Coast honors as a tackle in 1948 and played in the 1949 East–West Shrine Game. He was inducted into the OSU Athletics Hall of Fame and was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.[6]

Playing career[edit]

Selected in the thirteenth round of the 1949 NFL draft, Austin played seven seasons with the Giants, including the 1956 title year. He missed the 1951 and 1952 seasons due to military service in the U.S. Army,[7] stationed in San Francisco and Tokyo.[4] He made the Pro Bowl in 1954 and retired after the 1957 season.

Coaching career[edit]

Austin began his coaching career at Wichita University for a season in 1958, then joined first-year head coach Vince Lombardi as offensive line coach for the Green Bay Packers in 1959. Lombardi was the offensive coordinator of the Giants for the previous five seasons, including the 1956 championship year. Austin coached in Green Bay for six seasons, mentoring pulling guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, and hall of famers Forrest Gregg and Jim Ringo. The Packers played in the NFL championship game for three consecutive seasons, with wins in 1961 and 1962.

Seeking a warmer climate for his wife's health,[8] Austin left Green Bay after the 1964 season for the Los Angeles Rams for a season as an assistant,[9] then became head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers at age 37 in January 1966,[4] with a recommendation by Lombardi.[10] He failed to produce a winning season in three seasons, finishing 11–28–3 (.298), and was fired after the 1968 season (2–11–1), succeeded by Chuck Noll.

Austin rejoined Lombardi in Washington as an assistant in 1969,[11] then took over as interim head coach when Lombardi died of cancer before the 1970 season on September 3. Dismissed by telephone after that 6–8 season,[12][13] he returned to his role as an assistant coach in the NFL (and USFL) for the remainder of his career, including a stint as offensive line coach for the Giants in the early 1980s.[14]

Austin was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982, and retired to Las Vegas in 1985. He died at age 84 at his home in Las Vegas in 2013.[1][3][5]

Head coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
PIT 1966 5 8 1 .385 6th in Eastern Conference
PIT 1967 4 9 1 .308 4th in Century Division
PIT 1968 2 11 1 .154 4th in Century Division
PIT Total 11 28 3 .282
WAS 1970 6 8 0 .429 4th in NFC East
NFL Total 17 36 3 .321
  • Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.


  1. ^ a b Goldstein, Richard (May 31, 2013). "Bill Austin, 84, Pro Bowl lineman, dies". New York Times. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  2. ^ Eisen, Michael (May 30, 2013). "Remembering former OL & coach Bill Austin". New York Giants. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Bill Austin – former Oregon State standout, NFL player and coach – dies at 84". The Oregonian. Portland. Associated Press. May 31, 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Sell, Jack (January 21, 1966). "Bill Austin new Steeler coach". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 1. 
  5. ^ a b "Bill Austin". Las Vegas Review-Journal. (obituary). May 2013. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Student life: Phi Delta Theta – famous alumni". Oregon State University. Retrieved February 12, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Bill Austin back with grid Giants". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. February 8, 1953. p. 44. 
  8. ^ Lea, Bud (January 14, 1965). "Austin quits, cites family health problem". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2. 
  9. ^ "Austin takes job as Rams' line coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. January 16, 1965. p. 2, part 2. 
  10. ^ "Austin, ex-Packer aide, Steeler coach". Milwaukee Sentinel. wire services. January 21, 1966. p. 2, part 2. 
  11. ^ "Lombardi picks Bill Austin as assistant with Redskins". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. February 11, 1969. p. 20. 
  12. ^ "Allen replaces Bill Austin; Cardinals dismiss Winner". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. W-P. January 7, 1971. p. 13. 
  13. ^ Lowitt, Bruce (January 7, 1971). "George Allen replaces Bill Austin as Redskin coach". The Day. New London, Connecticut. Associated Press. p. 25. 
  14. ^ O'Brien, Jim (January 3, 1982). "Ex-Steeler Austin finally feels victory thrill". Pittsburgh Press. p. D6. 

External links[edit]