All along, Jim Caldwell seemingly planned to hire Teryl Austin as his defensive coordinator if he got the Detroit Lions' head coaching job. That's why it was no surprise that Austin was in fact hired as the Lions' defensive coordinator just days after Caldwell was introduced as Detroit's new head coach. Austin, who is 48 years old, left his job as the secondary coach of the Baltimore Ravens to join Caldwell's coaching staff in Detroit.
Austin, who has five kids and hails from Sharon, Pennsylvania, played defensive back at Pittsburgh from 1984-87 and was a three-year starter. After getting a degree in communications, Austin made a run at playing in the NFL (with the Washington Redskins) and the CFL (with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats), but he ultimately ended up with the World League of American Football's Montreal Machine for one season.
Quickly, Austin decided to jump into the coaching world by serving as a graduate assistant at Penn State from 1991-92. He was at Penn State at the same time as Caldwell, and Caldwell brought Austin with him when he was hired as Wake Forest's head coach. Austin served as Caldwell's defensive backs coach from 1993-95 before leaving for the same job at Syracuse.
After spending three seasons at Syracuse, Austin joined Lloyd Carr's coaching staff as Michigan's defensive backs coach. He was in Ann Arbor from 1999-2002 before jumping to the NFL. First, he was the Seattle Seahawks' defensive backs coach from 2003-06, and he went to Super Bowl XL in Detroit as part of that coaching staff. From 2007-09, he was Ken Whisenhunt's defensive backs coach with the Arizona Cardinals, and he went to Super Bowl XLIII.
In 2010, Austin jumped back to the college ranks for his first defensive coordinator job. He was the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach for Urban Meyer's final season at Florida. With Meyer leaving Florida after that season, Austin jumped back to the NFL as the secondary coach of the Ravens. Interestingly, the secondary coach job only opened up because Chuck Pagano was promoted to defensive coordinator to replace Greg Mattison, who left to be Brady Hoke's defensive coordinator at Michigan. Mattison, like Austin, also once served as Meyer's defensive coordinator at Florida. Small world.
With the Ravens, Austin went to Super Bowl XLVII. The third time was the charm for him, as he finally came out on the winning side in the Super Bowl with the Ravens beating the San Francisco 49ers. In his first two Super Bowl appearances, Austin was on the losing side against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Austin is now with the Lions for his first defensive coordinator job in the NFL. Caldwell gave Austin his first official coaching job way back in 1993 at Wake Forest, and now Caldwell is giving Austin his first shot as an NFL defensive coordinator in Detroit in 2014. For Austin, things have really come full circle.
(Once again, special thanks to the Baltimore Ravens for the majority of this information.)