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Remembering former OL & coach Bill Austin


 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Bill Austin, who played and coached for the Giants in an NFL career that included stints with eight teams and spanned almost four decades, passed away this week at his home in Las Vegas. He was 84.

An offensive lineman, Austin was the Giants' 13th-round draft choice in 1949, from Oregon State. He played for the team from in 1949-50 and from 1953-57. Austin played in 75 games in his seven seasons, was a Pro Bowl guard in 1954 and a member of the Giants' 1956 NFL championship team.

In 1958, he started his coaching career at Wichita State. Then the following year, he became the Green Bay Packers' offensive line coach under Vince Lombardi. He held that position for six years before becoming the Los Angeles Rams' line coach in 1966.

Austin was the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1966-68. The Steelers were 11-28-3 during his tenure and he was replaced in 1969 by Chuck Noll, a Hall of Fame coach who held the job for 23 years.

In 1969, Austin joined Lombardi's Washington Redskins staff as the offensive line coach. When Lombardi was diagnosed with cancer and had to relinquish his duties, Austin was promoted to head coach. The Redskins were 6-8 in 1970 and Austin was let go following the season. He then coached the offensive lines for the Chicago Bears (1971), St. Louis Cardinals (1972), Redskins (1973-77) and the Giants (1979-82). He concluded his career with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL (1983-84) and the Jets (1985).

Bill Austin was born in San Pedro, Calif., on Oct. 18, 1928, but grew up in Oregon where he first began his football career as a high school guard. He then played at Oregon State. Austin was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. He was married to Goodrun Austin for 56 years. The couple had four daughters, Barbara, Deborah, Pamela and Marietta, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Palm Mortuary-Northwest, 6701 N. Jones Blvd, in Las Vegas.


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