[David Toney - For Shaw Media]
“We went from being on the same staff to battling each other year in and year out,” Austin said. “... I always had a ton of respect for the work he did at South Dakota State.”
Austin also had a previous relationship with Huskies wide receivers coach Houston Jones as both are Iowa State alums, with the two having stayed connected since coaching at the same North Dakota State camp.
“To have that Cyclone connection is a big deal,” Jones said. “He’s somebody who I’ve looked up to as a mentor and always followed his career and just tried to imitate some of the things that he’s done to get himself to a different level.”
As far as winning championships, Austin knows all about that. He won three Football Championship Subdivision national championships while on the staff at North Dakota State and won a Super Bowl this past season with the Patriots. Through that time, he has seen what made the consistent champions stand apart from their peers.
“Every place I’ve been, at North Dakota State, I’ve been with the New England Patriots, they both had a culture of winning. … Coming here, I know the history that [NIU] did win.”
Austin added, “It’s not an up and down, but every year it’s an NIU-is-in-it-to-win-it type of situation.”
Austin takes over a running back group that most notably returns Tre Harbison and Marcus Jones. Jones already expressed excitement about playing under an accomplished running backs coach in Hammock, another coach on staff who has worked in the NFL.
“The most important thing is learning our offense … learning about our players and getting out on the football field and seeing what they do well,” Austin said. “I need time to spend on the grass with those guys.”