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Steelers Hire Pitt Alum Teryl Austin as Defensive Coordinator



The Pittsburgh Steelers officially announced the hiring of Sharon, Pa. native and Pitt alum Teryl Austin as the team’s defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Austin will replace Keith Butler, who had been the team’s defensive coordinator since 2015. Butler retired after the 2021 season.

The 56-year-old Austin has been with the Steelers since 2019, serving as the team’s senior defensive assistant and secondary coach, where he helped develop players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds. He also served as booth help for head coach Mike Tomlin for clock and challenge issues.

Austin has been a defensive coordinator at the NFL level twice before, with the Detroit Lions from 2014-17 and with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.

In addition to his time as the Steelers’ senior defensive assistant, Austin has long ties to the area. A Sharon, Pa. native, Austin was a three-year starting defensive back at Pitt. After one year of pro football, he got his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at Penn State in 1991.

In 2014, Austin helped lead Detroit to an 11-5 record. The Lions finished second in the NFL in points allowed per game and Austin was a buzzing head coaching candidate. After that, Austin’s defenses regressed, rankin 23rd, 13th, and 21st in points allowed per game. 

After Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell was fired following the 2017 season, Austin left to become the defensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals under Marvin Lewis. Austin was fired in November before the season was even over after the Bengals gave up 500 yards in three straight games.

He worked as a defensive backs social and defensive assistant at Wake Forest, Syracuse and Michigan before getting his first NFL job as a defensive backs coach with the Seattle Seahawks in 2003. He joined the Arizona Cardinals in the same role from 2007-09, coaching against the Steelers in Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII.

Austin also spent one season as the defensive coordinator at Florida under Urban Meyer in 2010 and three seasons as the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary coach under John Harbaugh.

The Steelers have not said whether the team will replace Austin. They did not have a senior defensive assistant before hiring him in 2019. Grady Brown is the team’s secondary coach.

The Steelers have now filled two vacancies on the team’s coaching staff in Austin and wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson, who was hired on Tuesday.

The team still has vacancies at offensive line coach and assistant offensive line coach, along with another coach in the secondary should they choose to replace Austin.

Nick Farabaugh contributed to this story.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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