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Former Steelers coach Bill Austin dead at 84

The man who was replaced by Chuck Noll in 1969 died in his home in Las Vegas Thursday.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Steelers head coach Bill Austin, Dan Rooney's first coaching hire, died Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 84 years old.

Much is made of the fact the Steelers have had three coaches since 1969. The Steelers had two in four years before that, Mike Nixon in 1965 and Austin, from 1966-68.

Austin was 11-28-3 in his three seasons before the Steelers hired Chuck Noll - and have six Super Bowl championships since then.

One of the more interesting aspects of Austin's career is he was the coach before Noll in Pittsburgh, and before George Allen in Washington. One could say he paved the way to greatness in both organizations. Or, both teams struck gold with the coach who followed him.

Rooney released a statement on Austin's passing:

Bill Austin was a great contributor to the growth of the National Football League as both a Pro Bowl lineman and coach. He was highly recommended for the Pittsburgh Steelers' head coaching job by Vince Lombardi, who Austin served as the line coach for in Green Bay and Washington. Austin was an excellent person when he coached for Pittsburgh and our condolences go out to his family. He will be missed.