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Former Tarpon Springs great Atif Austin joins New England Patriots’ staff

Monday 14 May, 2018 | RSS Feed

Former Tarpon Springs great Atif Austin joins New England Patriots’ staff

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Atif Austin has put together an impressive coaching resume at the college level. The former Tarpon Springs football standout and coach has been an assistant at North Dakota State for the past four years, winning Division I-AA national titles three times during that span.

Now Austin will move on to an annual Super Bowl contender.

On Monday, the New England Patriots announced they had hired Austin as an assistant.

Austin helped create his path to the pros two years ago when he joined the Baltimore Ravens in the summer as part of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship.

Started in 1987, the fellowship program was designed to create more job opportunities in the NFL for minority coaches. After starting with two participants in its inaugural season, the program has expanded to include all 32 teams and has helped mentor more than 1,500 coaches.

Among those who have been in the program are former Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant and New York Jets coach Herm Edwards and Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis.

Austin had been accepted twice before in the program when he was an assistant at Northern Iowa, but had to turn down the opportunities because they conflicted with his college coaching schedule.

Austin played for the Spongers in the late 1990s. As a senior in 1997, he rushed for 1,995 yards and 16 touchdowns and was named the Tampa Bay Times' Pinellas County Player of the Year. That same year he also rushed for a school-record 368 yards in a game against Springstead that clinched a playoff berth.

He went on to become a four-year starter as a defensive back at Iowa State, finishing with 173 career tackles. After graduating from ISU, Austin enrolled in Southwest Minnesota State's graduate program and, as a graduate assistant, worked with the football team's secondary the first year and with the inside linebackers in 2004.

In 2005, Austin took on his first assistant coaching position at the University of Northern Iowa, working with running backs. Austin helped senior running back David Horne set UNI's single-season rushing touchdown record (17).

He spent five seasons as UNI's running backs coach and added special teams duties to his role in his final season there before returning to Tarpon Springs to become head coach. Austin finished 7-8 in two seasons with the Spongers (2010-11).

In 2013, Austin was hired as an assistant coach for Stetson's first-year program. He left in 2014 to become North Dakota State's special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach.

Three years ago, Austin was presented the key to the city of Tarpon Springs after winning his first national title with NDSU.

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