Goodhue's Austin steps down as football coach

GOODHUE — After an impressive 13-year run, Clair Austin has stepped down as Goodhue's head football coach. Austin submitted his resignation early last week, according to Goodhue athletic director Josh Wieme.

The decision comes a few months after he led the Wildcats to their eighth state tournament. His teams advanced to three Class A state title games — winning in 2003 and 2007 — and reached the section title game 11 times in 13 years.

"I think we put football on the map in Goodhue," said Austin, who posted a 109-50 record with the Wildcats. "(But) sometimes you have to close one door to open another. …I think I've seen it all. I feel like the game I coach, I could take it to the next level."

Austin, who's in his early 50s, hopes to transition into the college game next fall. He said he has "feelers" out at a number of programs around the area, but has yet to have any serious discussions about joining a staff. He feels his strengths as a coach are on defense and special teams.

The interest in making such a leap has been there for the past few years, but he stuck around with the Wildcats until the middle of his three sons — Mike — graduated last spring. Austin had intended to resign at that point, but said he was talked into returning for one more year by a trio of seniors on the 2010 squad: Jared Dicke, Ashton Erie and Nathan Voth.


He was rewarded with another trip to the Metrodome, where the Wildcats lost in the state semifinals.

"I think we got the most out of the kids that we could get and that's what I enjoyed the most," said Austin, who lives and teaches in Red Wing. "To me, as a head coach, you have to be a good salesman. If they believe in it and the kids buy into it, it just works. And it's all who you put around you; my assistant coaches have been just fabulous."

While Austin hopes to land a new job next fall, he said he won't be entirely disappointed if it doesn't work out. His youngest son will be a freshman on Goodhue's football team next fall and Austin would plan to simply sit in the stands with the rest of the parents to watch the games.

Wieme hopes to post the opening by the end of April. He hasn't ruled out hiring someone from Austin's staff — of which he's a member — but says the school expects to have at least one teaching opening that could be used to lure in an outside candidate.

"We don't want to rush ourselves, but we don't want to drag it out either," Wieme said. "I would expect we'll have something by the end of the school year." 

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