Teryl Austin thought only two of his four head-coaching interviews were “legitimate”

AP

Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was a hot head-coaching candidate this offseason, interviewing with the Giants, Browns, Titans and Dolphins. But he believes only two of those four interviews were “legitimate.”

Austin, who also interviewed for four jobs last year, said he considered it an honor just to be interviewed, but not all of those interviews were with teams truly considering him for the job.

Like a legitimate job interview,” Austin said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Like I had a legitimate shot at the job.”

Asked whether that meant he was just being used to fulfill the requirements of the Rooney Rule with the other two interviews, Austin said, “Take it however you want.”

The Rooney Rule requires every team with a head-coaching vacancy to interview at least one minority for the job. But there’s nothing in the rule that can force teams to give true consideration to minority candidates, rather than simply interviewing them to satisfy the rule.

With eight interviews over the last two years, Austin has now gotten to know the top decision-makers on a quarter of the league’s teams. That should help his career, even if he isn’t always pleased with going through the motions on an interview with a team that has already decided to hire someone else.

71 responses to “Teryl Austin thought only two of his four head-coaching interviews were “legitimate”

  1. im not a fan of the Rooney Rule. I don’t see the benefit of “going through the motions” and possibly getting someones hopes up when theres no way in heck their going to get the job anyway….

  2. Well if an owner is looking for a head coach and there happens to be none with black skin color that fits his criteria and yet you dictate to him what kinds of people he must interview with a racist rule then of course there will be interviews that are not legitimate.

  3. Yeah, that will happen when you have a pointless rule like that. Most teams know around the playoffs who they are going to target, forcing them to sit down with someone they had no interest just because of the color of their skin will not change that.

    That rule is about as useful as the Pro Bowl.

  4. And silence from Stephen A…..of course. On matters that reflect negatively on NFL Headquarters, Stephen A. bites his tongue…likely waiting for instructions from Troy Vincent.

  5. If you force teams to interview a black candidate when they don’t think you’re good enough, what do you expect? But it’s happened to me as a white guy – being interviewed to make up the numbers when they already knew who they wanted but have to show a selection process. And I even have a rejection letter for a foreign university job I applied for which said I didn’t meet minimum requirements – but only after I applied, got short-listed, wrote essays and had two telephone interviews! So suck it up Teryl, it wasn’t a color-bias it was because they prefer someone else anyway but the NFL forced them to speak to you too.

  6. both Hue Jackson (in Oakland) and Mike Tomlin were interviewed because of the Rooney Rule and ended up beating out assumed favorites for the Job, so saying it doesn’t work is a fallacy, and as stated just getting your name out there and meeting the owners/GMs does help in your career.. its only racist if you ignore the fact that prior to the rule there were qualified individuals that would not have a shot at the job because of there skin color, its so great that people can try to make the majority seemed victimized

  7. One of those jobs SHOULD have been the Lions head coaching vacancy, but somehow Jimmy Caldwell skated by another year. If (some troll will follow this up with “when”) the Lions falter, then Austin will likely get the chance to audition as a head coaching candidate.

    That being said, he’s a very good defensive coordinator, and even though they weren’t great last year, he did a good job considering he lost Suh, Fairley, and Levy from 2014’s #1 defense.

  8. Maybe…just maybe…he wasn’t good enough to get the job(s). He’s clearly insinuating that it was a “going through the motion” of satisfying the Rooney rule. And lets be fair, the Lions defense was not that good without Suh so it’s not like he is coming from a Todd Bowles situation where the defense was stellar. If he was, then maybe I could see his point.

    Sorry but him even going there just goes to show why the Rooney rule should not exist. It paints teams into a corner of merely satisfying it, and if a minority does not get the job, he can (like this case, not all cases) claim it wasn’t for real

  9. Rooney Rule is a joke. Who heard anything about the Liond D? Guy is lucky he has a job. Stop whining.

  10. I am wondering what Austin has done to be worthy of a head coaching job. Detroit hasn’t been lighting the world on fire.

  11. Any thoughts that maybe teams decided that Teryl Austin was not a legitimate head coach. Going public like this is not going to get Him more interviews, in fact He may never get another one. Reminds me of Ted Cottrell, great defensive coordinator. Was just not a head coach. When asked by a GM and the owner what kind of defense they would run, He said “A good one”.

  12. Rooney Rule is arguably the most racist thing in all of professional sports.

    Mike if you really want a crusade for your readers to hop on, get off the Redskin NONtroversy and start writing articles about how bogus the RR is.

  13. The right wing mouth breathers who frequent this site don’t like the Rooney Rule? I’m shocked.

  14. Hey, at least teams know who he is and that he’s interested in the job. Here’s another one, how many candidates didn’t even get that interview because they don’t meet the “requirements?”

  15. If any owner/GM wouldn’t hire a minority candidate that is superior to a non-minority candidate, they will get what they deserve in the standings. That should be punishment enough.

  16. What is he complaining about?

    That is exactly what the Rooney Rule is INTENDED to do – force execs to interview black candidates, even if they already know they want to hire someone else.

    The rule is intended to give the black candidates additional experience interviewing to help them improve their presentation abilities for future opportunities. This is what the black coaches wanted, yet they still complain about it? SMH.

  17. Austin got two legit interviews that he might not have gotten without the Rooney Rule. Personally, I hate everything about that rule. The worst part about it is that we need to force people to consider minorities. As bad as it might seem, and it seems pretty bad, the NFL is probably the least racist industry in America (or the world for that matter).

  18. The Titans were definitely one of the non-legitimate opportunities. But that was only due to the fact that AAS wanted to hire her buddy Mularkey as head coach even though he sucks.

  19. Wow that Lions defense makes him look like he was perfect for Browns, where mediocrity is king. When your performance is in the bottom third of the league, he’s lucky to even have a job.

  20. He is also confirming one thing: the Philadelphia eagles did not interview him and abused the Rooney rule.

    I’m not trying to slander the eagles, but they were reported to be set to interview Austin. However, he was clearly not interviewed and thus the Duce Staley interview was just a total joke.

    We are not making ethical meritocratic and/or social progress within administrative ranks when Rams’ losing coach Jeff Fisher gets to be retained for $7 million a year, Which is 35% more than the average minority coach, but Hue Jackson gets placed in Cleveland and the Eagles make the Rooney Rule about the first black guy they see.

    Let’s face it. The stats and reality show that it’s harder for minority coaches to get the Jobs their Caucasian counterparts get. Based on the retentions of Jeff Fisher, Gus Bradley, and Mike malarkey, hirings of Greg Schiano in Tampa and Chip Kelly in SF, and any interest in Doug Marrone, the jobs are too much about being relatable. Plus, the GMs and owners that relate to the unworthy are clearly dumbing things down for those they relate to versus those they don’t.

  21. I’m sure being used to fulfill a requirement based on race was a huge boost to his self esteem.

    Al Davis didn’t need a stupid rule to hire women and minorities. He just did it. Yet Rooney gets all the praise. And this is coming from a Skins fan.

    Hail

  22. It is the perfect “Rooney Rule” … it matches their team strategy to a T.

    Make sure you get into the dance more often than the other teams, and then, surprise surprise, you win more than your fair share of the Super Bowls. Never mortgage your future on a one shot deal. Maximize your exposure.

    Teryl Austin has been to 8 dances … that’s what matters.

  23. This happened to Ted Cottrell for years. He got dragged around the country for interviews for jobs he was never really in the running for. He started turning them down. I like to think that with the amount of money at stake in the NFL, owners can’t afford to be racist in their views. They make the most money when they hire the best coach. Is it too soon for that thinking?

  24. People really need to learn what the Rooney Rule is. You have to interview a MINORITY not just a black person. The purpose is to prevent the NFL from doing what it used to do which was just have a never ending carousal of the same coaches just going to different teams. They now HAVE to have a coaching search where as before you could literally fire someone Monday morning and have your hand picked new guy on Monday afternoon.

    For those that don’t see how this has helped the NFL, out of the minorities that have been hired to head coaching positions since the rule was implemented a little over a decade ago 4 out of 8 have coached in Superbowls already (Ron Rivera, Lovie Smith, Mike Tomlin and Jim Caldwell) and all were first time NFL head coaches when they did it showing the type of talent that was being ignored so that repeated failures like Wade Phillips can get multiple opportunities because his dad was a staple in the league.

    The main point that it’s succeeded is that there are now minority candidates on the “must hire” list where they’re actually being picked as teams first choices where that rarely ever happened before.

  25. Since the Giants and Titans hired the internal candidates that everyone figured they were going to all along it’s probably safe to say those were the two non-legitimate interviews

  26. The Rooney Rule is not dumb, it just needs modified. In a sport dominated by minority’s, the Front offices and the coaches around the league don’t reflect that. He may not be those teams choice but the rule is to interview a minority & with so many white people in charge it’s easy for them to look out for their own. It’s not always racism looking out for your own but if a minority gets a chance he can show what he’s about on the limited info a franchise might have.

  27. This also happens in the private sector. Sometimes companies will interview XX number of candidates for a position to document that they are an Equal Opportunity Employer, when in fact they knew who they were hiring from the start.

  28. The Rooney Rule isn’t really necessary anymore, there are great black candidates out there who match the profile that a lot of teams are looking. Asking a great candidate to interview for a position he doesn’t match is giant waste of time for the candidate. Hiring a candidate ill-suited to the position is doom for the candidate as well as the team. (eg. Chip Kelly ) Conversely a good match works for everyone. (eg. Bowles )

  29. I don’t see the problem with Austin’s remarks. I, and probably all of us, have been on job interviews where it was extremely obvious the job offer was not coming. We’ve all also been on interviews where we could tell there was genuine interest on the part of the interviewer(s). Austin isn’t a stupid man; he surely could tell when he was in an “I know who I want, but somebody is making me interview you” interview.

    As for the rule itself, I don’t like it. Implementing it requires a base assumption that all the owners are racist and would never hire a minority unless they were forced to. Let’s keep in mind that the only thing the owners care about is making money. They are going to want the guy that will make the franchise more successful, thereby bringing in more money, regardless of what color he is.

  30. If you force teams to interview a black candidate when they don’t think you’re good enough, what do you expect? But it’s happened to me as a white guy – being interviewed to make up the numbers when they already knew who they wanted but have to show a selection process. And I even have a rejection letter for a foreign university job I applied for which said I didn’t meet minimum requirements – but only after I applied, got short-listed, wrote essays and had two telephone interviews! So suck it up Teryl, it wasn’t a color-bias it was because they prefer someone else anyway but the NFL forced them to speak to you too.

    thanks, but nobody cares. This article is not about you. And so you can claim that the interviews were not racially motivated to meet a quota but yours was? Ill Western Union you a quarter to call someone who cares.

  31. The Rooney Rule isn’t to force owners to hire black coaches. It’s to raise the profile of black coaches and get them some exposure. That’s it.

  32. What? Teams are interviewing coaches they have no intention of considering for the job? Who would have ever thought that would happen?

  33. This list of comments proves the utter ridiculousness of PFT readers. Kind of pathetic.

    The Rooney Rule is racist? Really? PLEASE explain. Or better yet, give the definition of racism, because none of you clearly know what it is.

    The NFL was an old boys network, that is filled with minority workers and had almost NO minority front office personnel. The rule has not only provided opportunities, it has landed jobs for minorities and helped diversify the non-player side of the sport.

    To claim there is something wrong with it, is moronic. The NFL is holding teams accountable for being open, we should celebrate this. The rule does not state that you have to HIRE a minority. Simply that you interview them. A. It forces teams to talk to people they might not (good thing). B. It provides opportunities for minorities to go through the motions, and perfect their interviewing skills for advancement (good thing).

    To claim the RR is racist, is pretty much, calling yourself racist for making the statement. And sadly, a bunch of you won’t even get it.

  34. I can not believe for a second that there’s one owner in the NFL who would hire a guy based on the color of his skin. They will hire the person they believe can lead the team to victory, nothing else matters. The idea that they have to be forced to interview minority candidates is laughable. They don’t look at skin color for a second, this ain’t 1955 anymore. I’m sorry if you disagree, but there’s only one criteria they use, and that’s “Who can build a WINNER?”

  35. You’re final paragraph of course presumes that the decision makers in the NFL aren’t complete racist bigots, which all of us with a brain know they are. The Rooney Rule is a sham, just like affirmative action. There won’t be significant change until the racist power brokers (certain owners, GMs, agents) are eliminated from influence, which is inevitable but cannot happen soon enough

  36. All they can really do is be a great coach and hope for the best. How many black owners are there? The owners are more relax with coaches who they relate to. Bill

  37. Hey, Teryl, don’t blame the teams. They are doing what they have to. They are forced to look at some coaches simply because of the color of their skin. Blame the league for turning you into nothing more than a token used to satisfy a nonsensical and racist rule. You should be appreciated and judged by your merits. Nothing more.

  38. Is it me or would the critics of the Rooney Rule and the minorities unfairly passed cry “reverse racism” over being unfairly passed over like the minorities?

    I get the feeling that the latter would happen.

  39. Rooney rule needs to go. It only furthermore indicates we have a problem with racism. It’s almost a laughing matter that we require teams to go through the motion to appease a rule against discrimination. Discrimination/racism is going to happen whether there is a rule or not, it’s not right but society is at war with itself. It’s shameful.

  40. why aren’t there efforts being made to diversify the players?

    with a league that is almost half black, i think it is obvious that the league is run by racist GMs who refuse to give white and asian players a fair shot

    Black people make up 13% of the current US population- an equal proportion of coaches would be 4.16- (there are currently 5) sometimes i don’t think they will be happy until every coach is black

  41. Teryl Austin thought only two of his four head-coaching interviews were “legitimate”

    And 0 of 4 teams found him to be a legitimate candidate for the job. Quit whining, work on improving yourself and try again like the rest of America.

  42. As others have pointed out, the Rooney Rule is doing what it is intended to do. The purpose of it was to give minority candidates visibility at the Executive ranks of the NFL. It wasn’t invented to help minority candidates improve their interviewing skills (I can’t believe someone said that). This is all about giving minority candidates an opportunity to impress front offices and get away from the “old boys” mentality that was prevalent in the sport.

    So Teryl Austin, you probably only did have 2 legitimate interviews. But hopefully those two teams walked away thinking that you would be a legitimate candidate in the future, and those two teams may even recommend other teams look at you when openings come up.

  43. petersjeffrey36 says:
    Jun 2, 2016 2:51 PM
    both Hue Jackson (in Oakland) and Mike Tomlin were interviewed because of the Rooney Rule and ended up beating out assumed favorites for the Job, so saying it doesn’t work is a fallacy, and as stated just getting your name out there and meeting the owners/GMs does help in your career.. its only racist if you ignore the fact that prior to the rule there were qualified individuals that would not have a shot at the job because of there skin color, its so great that people can try to make the majority seemed victimized
    ……………………………………………………………
    rooney was all set to hire russ grimm as HC when the league forced tomlin on him ( it would have been hypocritical of him to do otherwise , since it is his rule ) grimm then went with the cardinals.
    ……………………………………………………
    and as for > rajbais says:
    Jun 2, 2016 4:04 PM
    …………………………………………………………….
    as buzzy bavasi ( Dodgers GM) said back in the day :
    it’s not about hiring a minority , it’s the flack you take when it comes time to fire him . ( having to hold on to the coach until the situation is no longer tenable, further damaging the organization ) .

  44. winged warrior says:
    Jun 3, 2016 10:30 AM

    as buzzy bavasi ( Dodgers GM) said back in the day :
    it’s not about hiring a minority , it’s the flack you take when it comes time to fire him . ( having to hold on to the coach until the situation is no longer tenable, further damaging the organization ) .

    Problem: The Rams took flack for keeping Fisher. They’re too arrogant to fire him. Let’s not forget, the Titans are still irrelevant in Nashville with or without Mularkey. Btw, when DID the Jets fire Rex Ryan?

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