The Syracuse Orange will fire head coach Dino Babers on Sunday, and their coaching search will begin. But it could come to Pittsburgh, where Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is reportedly a candidate for the job. According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, Austin is among the many candidates for the job after being at the NFL level for a long time.
He could use his experience with the Steelers to springboard to that head coach position. Austin was a defensive assistant at Syracuse from 1996 to 1998 but has not coached at the college level since 2010, when he was the defensive coordinator at Florida. Since then, Austin has leveled up to the NFL and has been a defensive coordinator in three stops.
The 58-year-old Austin has been with the Steelers since 2019, serving as the team’s senior defensive assistant and secondary coach before becoming defensive coordinator, where he helped develop players such as Minkah Fitzpatrick, Cam Sutton, Mike Hilton, and Terrell Edmunds. He also served as booth help for head coach Mike Tomlin for clock and challenge issues.
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 started coaching as a graduate assistant at Penn State in 1991.
However, Austin has never been a head coach at any level. But his experience at the NFL level could offer an intriguing option for him if he is interested in that. Austin has seen Super Bowls in his career and knows what it takes to get to that level, but there is no guarantee that he wants to be a head coach while still a defensive coordinator with the Steelers. If that manifests itself, Pittsburgh will look for another defensive coordinator.