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!
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