COACHES
Teryl Austin
Defensive Coordinator

Biography

Teryl Austin joined the Detroit Lions as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2014 after spending the previous three seasons as the Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach. In his first season at the helm of the Lions’ defense in 2014, Austin led one of the NFL’s most dominant units as Detroit finished the season ranked No. 2 in total defense (300.9 yards per game) and No. 1 in rushing defense (69.3 yards per game). Between 2  014-16, a span that featured two trips to the postseason, the Lions ranked in the Top 10 in opponent yards per game (8th, 238.9), rushing yards per game (4th, 96.2) and games allowing 20 points or less (7th, 27).

Teryl Austin joined the Detroit Lions as the team’s defensive coordinator in 2014 after spending the previous three seasons as the Baltimore Ravens defensive backs coach. In his first season at the helm of the Lions’ defense in 2014, Austin led one of the NFL’s most dominant units as Detroit finished the season ranked No. 2 in total defense (300.9 yards per game) and No. 1 in rushing defense (69.3 yards per game). Between 2  014-16, a span that featured two trips to the postseason, the Lions ranked in the Top 10 in opponent yards per game (8th, 238.9), rushing yards per game (4th, 96.2) and games allowing 20 points or less (7th, 27).

A former safety at the University of Pittsburgh, Austin brings 26 years of defensive coaching experience to the Lions’ staff, specifically with a special talent for developing and teaching defensive backs. He spent 10 seasons as a defensive backs coach in the NFL, including stints with the Seattle Seahawks (2003-06), Arizona Cardinals (2007-09) and most recently with the Ravens (2011-13). In each of those three stops, he helped his teams pave the way to Super Bowl appearances (Seattle in 2005, Arizona in 2008 and Baltimore in 2012). In 2012, he helped guide the Ravens to a win in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. 

LIONS COACHING HIGHLIGHTS

2016: The Lions tied for second in the NFL by holding opponents to 21 points or less in 10 games, including an eight-week streak (Weeks 7-15) where the team went 6-2 during that span. Detroit’s defense in Austin’s third year at the helm featured playmakers at every position that helped the Lions reach their second playoff berth in the last three seasons.

  • First-year DE Kerry Hyder emerged to lead the team in sacks after spending the previous season as a member of the practice squad. Hyder recorded two multi-sack games in 2016 and earned the team’s Chuck Hughes Most Improved Player Award.
  • The Lions secondary featured four safeties who recorded interceptions in 2016. S Glover Quin, S Tavon Wilson and S Rafael Bush each recorded two interceptions, while rookie S Miles Killebrew picked off his first career pass at New Orleans (12/4).
  • CB Darius Slay’s two interceptions in 2016 led directly to Lions victories. He tied for an NFL-high two interceptions inside the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, picking off a passes against Philadelphia (10/9) to seal the win and against Minnesota (11/6) to set up the game-winning field goal.
  • LB Tahir Whitehead, who re-signed with the team to a two-year contract at the beginning of the 2016 season, finished the year with a team-leading 132 total tackles (99 solo), marking the first time in his career that he eclipsed 100 total tackles in a season.

2015: The Lions defense rebounded in the second half of the 2015 season, helping lead Detroit to a 6-2 finish over the final eight games of the season. From Weeks 10-17, the Lions allowed only 19.4 points and 313.3 yards per game over the final eight games, which ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, in the NFL during that span.

  • The Lions were among the best in the NFL in attacking the quarterback in 2015, as they finished tied for seventh in sacks with 43.0. The team’s 43.0 sacks tied for fifth all-time in Lions history for single-season sacks. Detroit also led the League in team tackles for loss with 98.
  • The Lions’ defense was led by DE Ezekiel Ansah, who punched his ticket to his first-career Pro Bowl and an Associated Press Second Team All-Pro selection following a career-high 14.5 sacks. His 14.5 sacks ranked second behind only Raiders DE Khalil Mack (15.0) and Texans DE J.J. Watt (17.5).

2014: Detroit finished the 2014 season yielding 1,109 rushing yards, and became the ninth team in NFL history to finish the season allowing less than 70 rushing yards per game. In 16 games, the Lions allowed 69.3 rushing yards per game and finished with the ninth-best opponent rushing yards allowed per game average in NFL history. The team’s 17.6 points allowed per game also ranked third in the NFL that season.

  • The 69.3 rushing yards allowed per game by the Lions in 2014 also set a franchise record, breaking the previous mark set in 1970 (82.3 yds/g).
  • 2014 marked the first time the Lions finished in the Top-2 in total defense since 1970 and first since the NFL started playing a 16-game schedule in 1978.
  • Detroit set a new franchise record in the team’s playoff game at Dallas (1/4/15) as the team registered six sacks (51 yards lost) against the Cowboys. The Lions’ six sacks surpassed the previous high of four sacks garnered at Cleveland December 28, 1952. The team’s six sacks doubled the highest previous total (3 vs. Dallas 1/5/92) since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
  • Quin, with seven interceptions in 2014, became the first Lions player to lead the NFL in interceptions since Hall of Fame CB Lem Barney in 1967 when he registered 10 during his exceptional rookie campaign. Quin is the first Lions defensive player to finish the season with sole possession of first place among league leaders in interceptions since Hall of Fame DB Jack Christensen in 1953.

ADDITIONAL COACHING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Coached the Baltimore Ravens secondary from 2011-13. During that span, the Ravens ranked first in the NFL in pass defenses with 298. In his three seasons in Baltimore, the Ravens defense ranked in the Top-10 in Red Zone defense, including a League-leading opponent touchdown percentage of 38.1 in 2011.
  • As defensive coordinator at the University of Florida in 2010, the Gators recorded 22 interceptions, the fourth-most in the nation that season. The Florida defensive backfield also returned four of those picks for touchdowns.
  • Mentored three Cardinals defensive backs to the Pro Bowl as Arizona’s defensive backs coach in 2009, including CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, S Antrel Rolle and S Adrian Wilson. His Cardinals secondary also led the League in interception-touchdowns (six) in 2007.
  • In his first NFL coaching stint, Austin’s defensive backfield in Seattle ranked 10th in the NFL in interceptions with 67 over his four seasons (2003-06).
  • Spent time as defensive backs coach at Michigan (1999-2002), Syracuse (1996-98) and Wake Forest (1993-95). He also served as a graduate assistant at Penn State from 1991-92.

Austin joined the Baltimore Ravens staff in 2011and quickly developed the team’s secondary into an integral part of one of the NFL’s most consistent and feared defenses in recent years. In 2012, Austin helped guide the Ravens defense to six interceptions in the postseason en route to the team’s Super Bowl XLVII championship run. Over his three seasons in Baltimore (2011-13), the Ravens also ranked first in the NFL in pass defenses with 298.

Austin’s history of progressing NFL talent both young and experienced is well-documented. In 2013, Austin’s starting CBs Lardarius Webb (second) and Jimmy Smith (14th) both finished in the Top-15 in the NFL in pass defenses with 22 and 16, respectively. The Ravens also saw progression from first-round draft pick S Matt Elam, who Austin also mentored during his time as defensive coordinator at the University of Florida. Under Austin’s tutelage, veteran S Ed Reed earned his ninth career Pro Bowl nod in 2012 after co-leading the team in interceptions with four that season. Reed also recorded his ninth career postseason interception in Super Bowl XLVII as the Ravens led all playoff teams with six interceptions.

In 2011, the Ravens led the NFL in passing touchdowns allowed with a League-low 11 and surrendered the third-fewest points (16.6 avg/game), tying an NFL record by ranking in the Top-3 in points allowed for the fourth consecutive season.

Prior to joining the Ravens, Austin earned his first stint as a defensive coordinator with Florida in 2010. His Gators defense tallied 22 interceptions that season, ranking fourth in the NCAA and returning four of those picks for touchdowns. In SEC games, Florida led the conference in total defense by allowing only 310.8 yards per game.

Austin’s college coaching career dates back to his days as a graduate assistant at Penn State from 1991-92. He has held positions as defensive backs coach at three prestigious universities, including Michigan (1999-2002), Syracuse (1996-98) and Wake Forest (1993-95) where he worked under Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell for three seasons. Among the college players Austin helped prepare for NFL careers include CB Will Allen (Syracuse), LB Keith Bulluck (Syracuse) and CB Marlin Jackson (Michigan).

A three-year starter and four-year letterman at Pittsburgh, Austin played safety for the Panthers from 1984-87. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Pittsburgh in 1988 and went on to play for the Montreal Machine of the World League of American Football in 1991 after attending training camps with the Washington Redskins and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (CFL). He attended Sharon (Pa.) High School.

Austin and his wife, April, have five children, including sons Tyler, Trey and Torin, and daughters Alexa and Alivia.

AUSTIN’S COACHING BACKGROUND

Detroit Lions................................................................ 2014-

      Defensive Coordinator............................................. 2014-

Baltimore Ravens........................................................ 2011-13

      Secondary............................................................... 2011-13

Florida.......................................................................... 2010

      Defensive Coordinator/Cornerbacks....................... 2010

Arizona Cardinals........................................................ 2007-09

      Defensive Backs..................................................... 2007-09

Seattle Seahawks........................................................ 2003-06

      Defensive Backs..................................................... 2003-06

Michigan...................................................................... 1999-2002

      Defensive Backs..................................................... 1999-2002

Syracuse...................................................................... 1996-98

      Defensive Backs..................................................... 1996-98

Wake Forest................................................................. 1993-95

      Defensive Backs..................................................... 1993-95

Penn State................................................................... 1991-92

      Graduate Assistant................................................. 1991-92

Recent Videos

  • Austin on Tabor earning playing time

    Posted Dec 13, 2017

    Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin talks about how CB Teez Tabor played honorably and competitive this past week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • Austin on the Buccaneers' offense

    Posted Dec 7, 2017

    Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin talks about Tampa Bays' tight ends and their different playing styles and says the Lions' defense has to make sure they're in position to make plays.

  • Austin on Baltimore's run game

    Posted Nov 30, 2017

    Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin talks about how the Ravens are physical upfront and how hard Ravens RB Alex Collins runs the ball.

  • Austin on Mitchell Trubisky

    Posted Nov 16, 2017

    Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin says Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is a young, naturally talented player.

  • Austin on Darius Slay

    Posted Nov 3, 2017

    Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin talks about how comfortable CB Darius Slay is within his defensive system because he's consistently going after the ball and attacking it without any fear.

Photos