Obituaries

Bill Austin, 84, NFL line coach and Pro Bowl lineman

Bill Austin at the Redskins’ former training camp in Carlisle, Pa., in 1973.

Paul Vathis/Associated Press

Bill Austin at the Redskins’ former training camp in Carlisle, Pa., in 1973.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Bill Austin, 84, a Pro Bowl lineman for the New York Giants and a member of their 1956 NFL championship team, died at his home in Las Vegas.

Mr. Austin’s playing and coaching career included stints with eight teams and spanned almost four decades.

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A 13th-round draft choice for the Giants in 1949 out of Oregon State, Mr. Austin played for the team from 1949-50 and from 1953-57. He played in 75 games in his seven seasons and was a Pro Bowl guard in 1954.

In 1958, he started his coaching career at Wichita State. The following year, he became the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line coach under Vince Lombardi. He held that position for six years before becoming the Los Angeles Rams’ line coach in 1966.

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Mr. Austin was the head coach in Pittsburgh from 1966-68. The Steelers were 11-28-3 during his tenure, and he was replaced in 1969 by Chuck Noll, a Hall of Fame coach who held the job for 23 years and won four Super Bowls.

In 1969, Mr. Austin joined Lombardi’s Washington Redskins as the offensive line coach. When Lombardi was diagnosed with cancer and had to relinquish his duties, Mr. Austin was promoted to head coach. The Redskins were 6-8 in 1970, and Mr. Austin was let go following the season.

He then coached the offensive lines for the Chicago Bears (1971), St. Louis Cardinals (1972), Redskins (1973-77), and Giants (1979-82). He concluded his career with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL (1983-84) and the Jets (1985).

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Mr. Austin was born in San Pedro, Calif., but grew up in Oregon, where he first began his football career as a high school guard. He was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1982. He was married to Goodrun Austin for 56 years. The couple had four daughters, Barbara, Deborah, Pamela, and Marietta; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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