Florida announces Austin's hiring

Florida has officially hired Teryl Austin as the Gators' defensive coordinator, the school announced Friday.

Austin comes to Florida from the NFL, where he's served the last seven years as the Arizona Cardinals' defensive backs coach.

Here's Florida's official release:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Teryl Austin has been named Defensive Coordinator of the University of Florida football program, the athletic department announced Friday.

Austin comes to the Gators with 19 years of coaching experience, including 12 at the collegiate level and the past seven as an NFL defensive backs coach with the Arizona Cardinals (2007-09) and Seattle Seahawks (2003-06). Austin helped lead both Seattle and Arizona into the Super Bowl as NFC Champions.

Austin previously coached alongside Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio at Syracuse and Gator quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler at Michigan.

“I am pleased to have Teryl join our staff,” said head coach Urban Meyer. “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. “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.”

Under Austin’s tutelage, 2008 first-round pick Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie led the Cardinals with four interceptions during the regular season and had two more in the playoffs during Arizona’s run to Super Bowl XLIII.

In 2007, Austin’s secondary helped the Cardinals lead the NFL in interception returns for touchdowns (six) and in return yardage (551). Cornerbacks Rod Hood and Antrel Rolle each had five interceptions with Rolle returning three of them for touchdowns and Hood returning two. Rolle’s 231 return yards were good for second in team history, and his two interception returns for touchdowns against Cincinnati (Nov. 18) tied an NFL record.

During his tenure in Seattle, Austin was instrumental in the development of the Seahawks’ secondary heavily pieced together through the NFL Draft, mentoring draft picks Marcus Trufant (first round, 2003), Ken Hamlin (second round, 2003), Michael Boulware (second round, 2004) and Kelly Jennings (first round, 2006).

In winning the NFC in 2005 in Seattle, Austin's secondary, despite missing a combined 19 games due to injury, helped carry the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. The defensive backfield was led by Boulware, who in only his second NFL season led the team in interceptions (four) and was second on the team in tackles (73).

In 2004, Austin coached a group of Seahawks defensive backs that, for just the second time in team history (1984), had three different players intercept at least five passes and for the first time since 1984, all four starters intercepted at least four. Collectively, the Seahawks ranked third in the NFL with 23 interceptions and collected at least one pick in all but two games.

Prior to joining the Seahawks in 2003, Austin was an assistant for 12 years at the collegiate level, where he also coached defensive backs. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Penn State (1991-92) before heading to Wake Forest (1993-95), Syracuse (1996-98) and Michigan (1999-2002).

While coaching at the college level, Austin found his niche for developing young NFL-caliber players. At Syracuse, he mentored All-Americans Donovan Darius and Kevin Abrams. Darius was named the 1997 Big East Conference Player of the Year and went on to become a first-round NFL Draft pick with fellow defensive back Tebucky Jones – the first time in Syracuse history that two Orangemen were selected in the first round. He also coached NFL talents Will Allen (Dolphins) and Keith Bulluck (Titans) at Syracuse and tutored Marlin Jackson (Colts) and Cato June (Colts) while at Michigan. As well as developing individual talents, Austin also helped lead teams to seven consecutive bowl berths from 1996-2002.

A 1988 graduate of Pittsburgh with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Austin was a three-year starter and four-year letterman (1984-87) for the Panthers, participating in the 1984 Fiesta and the 1987 Bluebonnet Bowls. After graduating, Austin competed in the training camps of the Washington Redskins and Hamilton Tiger-Cats before playing for the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football in 1991. Austin and his wife, April, are the parents of five children –three sons, Tyler, Trey and Torin, and two daughters, Alexa and Alivia.