Teryl Austin hired as Gators’ defensive boss

By Adam Silverstein
February 11, 2010

The University of Florida has raided the NFL for a defensive coordinator for the second time since Charlie Strong left to become head coach of the Louisville Cardinals in January. After hiring George Edwards from the Miami Dolphins only to lose him to the Buffalo Bills 27 days later, the Florida Gators have agreed to name Arizona Cardinals defensive backs coach Teryl Austin as their new defensive coordinator.

Coaching since 1991, Austin has experience on both the collegiate and professional levels. Tutored by names like Joe Paterno, Dick MacPherson, Lloyd Carr and Mike Holmgren after playing four years of college football at Pittsburgh from 1984-87, the 44-year-old has yet to hold a defensive coordinator position at either level. Both of his stops in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks and the Cardinals, reached the Super Bowl while he was leading their respective secondaries.

Though he has not previously worked with head coach Urban Meyer, Austin has connections to interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler. During Addazio’s tenure as offensive line and tight ends coach with the Syracuse Orange from 1995-98, Austin was on the staff as a defensive assistant (1996-98). Loeffler knows him through his time with the Michigan Wolverines, where the former worked as a graduate assistant (1998-99) and QB coach (2002-07) while the latter served as a defensive assistant (1999-2002).

“I am pleased to have Teryl join our staff,” Meyer said in a UF release. “Coach Addazio did a great job coordinating our efforts with Chuck Heater and Dan McCarney to hire Teryl. It was important that we had some familiarity with Teryl as both Coach Addazio and Coach Loeffler had worked with him before. He also comes highly recommended from my close friend Bill Davis, the defensive coordinator of the Cardinals. It was also important that we hire a coach who is a great teacher, a great mentor and has the ability to be a great recruiter. Coach Austin has all of those qualities and beyond that is a good family man.”

“I’m excited to join the Gator coaching staff,” said Austin in the release. “I’ve watched from afar what this program is about – winning championships with dynamic players and doing things the right way. Now, I’m honored to be a part of the program and a part of The Gator Nation. I look forward to getting to work with an outstanding group of players and a great coaching staff.”

Co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Chuck Heater, a 33-year coaching veteran and one of Florida’s strongest recruiters, is expected to retain his new title and position. Heater has worked with Meyer on-and-off since 1986 when he coached the secondary for the Ohio State Buckeyes while Meyer was a graduate assistant. Since joining the Gators, Heater has coached cornerbacks and safeties, served as recruiting coordinator from 2005-07 and assistant defensive coordinator from 2008-09.

Florida Gators (Projected) 2010 Coaching Staff …after the jump!

Head Coach: Urban Meyer

Interim Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line: Steve Addazio
Quarterbacks: Scot Loeffler
Wide Receivers: Zach Azzanni
Running Backs: Stan Drayton
Tight Ends: Brian White

Defensive Coordinator: Teryl Austin
Co-Defensive Coordinator, Defensive Backs: Chuck Heater
Associate Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line: Dan McCarney
Linebackers: D.J. Durkin

Special Teams: D.J. Durkin, Urban Meyer?
Recruiting Coordinator: Stan Drayton
Director of Player and Community Relations: Terry Jackson

31 Comments

  1. O-town Gator says:

    As long as he’ll be effective, can recruit and won’t bail on us after a month, I’m cool with the hire.

  2. brlgator says:

    I am nervous because I don’t think he has any defensive coordinator experience. But I could be wrong…

  3. dustin smith says:

    whats up with urban and the black defensive coordinators

  4. Charlie Strong was here before he was hired. Two does not make a trend, though the staff did lose four minorities this offseason.

  5. Jordan says:

    Two hires doesn’t make a trend, sure . . . . but practically every single seriously considered candidate was also black, not just the two hires. Surely it has a lot to do with recruiting . . . but really who cares?

  6. Perhaps. But, as you said, who cares?

  7. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    Solid resume…….let’s hope this one sticks!!!!

  8. gator347 says:

    dustin smith – So, you care because?

    Is this 2010?

  9. Aligator says:

    I think that a minority hire is a great idea first of all, he is probably the best candidate that there is right now. Secondly, i doubt very seriously that he will have complete control, for God sakes, he doesn’t know the signals and plays and lastly, there is no way they will completely redo the defense they have had in place since UM has been here. He is not an idiot. It will be a smooth seamless transition. By the way, you are allowed one head coach and 10 full time assistant coaches per NCAA rules. that does not include GA’s or non coaching staff positions. So there may be another hire coming.

  10. dustin smith says:

    I don’t care at all. I’m actually black. I was just throwin that out there haha

  11. If I am Heater, I’m making sure I get paid at least as well as a full-fledged DC. Don’t understand how anyone is more qualified than him to take this job.

  12. On Campus says:

    What is wrong with Heater that none of us are seeing? I trust the coaches and their judgment, but why not just promote Heater and bring in a new secondaries coach? He seems highly motivated to be the DC and would be a great choice. IMO it seems that from Day 1 the game plan was to find an exact replacement of Charlie Strong in all areas or bust, and Heater was never seriously considered for the position. There must be other factors going into this decision that we don’t see, but I, for one, am hoping this one sticks around for a bit longer than a month. Either way, glad it’s all done, and the NFL background will be great for recruiting. Almost time for spring practice!

  13. ZURBO says:

    Where are all the jewish defensive coordinators? why do they only get opportunities to own teams and not coach them?

  14. 1866umoving says:

    Ok…Update 1 or 2? Did we hire Austin and are also interviewing Miami DC for some other position or are we considering Austin and Barrow for the same position? If we hire Austin and he accepted why would we fly up Miami coach?

  15. Right now everything is very unclear. My pure assumption about the situation is as follows:

    Florida made an offer to Austin. At the same time, they already had plans to interview Barrow for due diligence (he’s a defensive assistant, not DC). Austin may have accepted the offer before/during the interview and UF wants to be respectful to the process and Barrow by not confirming it yet. That would be a reason for UF to say the reports are “premature” without denying them.

  16. 1866umoving says:

    I guess when it’s on the UF site we will know for sure….this getting in front of the curve stuff can be a little confusing 🙂

  17. Barrow, who was Miami’s LB coach before being demoted to a defensive assistant position, has been promoted back to LB coach today by Randy Shannon. He may have used the UF visit as leverage – if so, smart guy.

  18. Nathan Darling says:

    I think this is redicous we just should of promoted chuck heater to defensive cordinator and run a 3-3-5 defense like we did last year with the frosh saftiers comin in.

  19. O-town Gator says:

    I have ESPN Sportscenter on now, and I have yet to see anything on the newswire regarding UF and the Austin hire. I’m watching for “NCAAF” to appear.

  20. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    I really like having the NFL experience on the staff…I think it only makes us better….if this guy tells you that you need to do xyz to make it at the next level why would you question him

  21. npgator says:

    I think this guy is an excellent hire. He brings NFL experience which is something that recruits seem to like and he has won at the highest level. I think with the talent level we will have over the next few years – I could a successful DC at UF.

  22. Mark01 says:

    Nathan,

    No offense, but if Urban and Addazio, who work with these coaches every single day, think this was the proper move than I agree. They know a lot more about Heater and Austin than we do. So until they prove that they can’t make good decisions I’m not going to question them.

  23. O-town Gator says:

    Mark, I’m with you on that one as well.

  24. Kevin says:

    He had to hire a black assistant as i believe the coaching staff requires a certain number of minorities. They had to hire a minority as a result of all the other positions being filled. This is pretty much why we hired a minority. Every white coach no matter how much more qualified did not have a chance.

    • That is blatently false, Kevin. The Gators had two coaching spots open (had eight filled before the Austin hire with a max of 10). If there was a minority requirement like you suggest (there isn’t), they could have hired one at another position on the staff. The Gators certainly want diversity on the staff but they are not going to hire someone less qualified to get it.

  25. gator347 says:

    Who would not want this position?

    This talent could make Ron Zook look good. I was pulling for Heater & bring in a young gun but it looks like Urban wants an NFL connection. This “D” is going to be NASTY in a few years (Not they are shabby now)

    If the “O” line can keep Brantley safe, things will be bright for years to come. Life is good!

  26. gator347 says:

    If the “O” line can keep Brantley safe, things will be bright for years to come. Life is good!
    Kevin “Every white coach no matter how much more qualified did not have a chance.”

    Name one that was MORE qualified & wanted to come & fit the system & was liked by the other coaches……

    Is it 1960? “Swing low , Sweet chariot …….”

    This guy is plenty qualified & knows the NFL. Can we not just trust Urban & enjoy the upcoming season?

  27. O-town Gator says:

    Gator347, Ron Zook would only let the current talent we have on our roster go to waste if got his mitts on it.

  28. brlgator says:

    kevin, not a smart comment at all.

    Winning is EVERYTHING to Urban Meyer I honestly beleive he d hire anyone who he thinks would help our program win regardless of race sex gender or anything. Is diversity on a coaching staff required? No. Is diversity on the coaching staff smart? Yes. But our staff is pretty diversified to begin with. UM would hire a black lesbian from antartica to be our D coordinator if he thought it meant we d win the SEC and play for a NC.

  29. g8ter27 says:

    Natan, 3-3-5??? Really? Yes we have super freshman talent in the secondary not to mention Dee Findley, Will Hill, Ahmad Black and Janoris Jenkins all returning. But, look at our returning lineman…thn ad a few no name recruits like Easley, Floyd and Powell (all top 10 nationally). I think we could basically run any defense we want. Our linebackers appear to be the wek spot and it isn’t lokking shabby either.

  30. g8ter27 says:

    Also, if I did spell check you might be able to understand my prior comment better.

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