Canadian Football League

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Former Canadian Football League Coch/Player Named Head Coach Of Cornell

University of Mississippi offensive coordinator Kent Austin has been hired as Cornell's 26th head football coach, multiple sources close to the Big Red program confirmed Tuesday.

Cornell has scheduled a press conference for 10 a.m. Wednesday to announce the hiring. The position has been vacant since Dec. 27, when Jim Knowles resigned to take the defensive coordinator position at Duke University after six seasons.

The sources requested anonymity because the announcement had not been made official by either school. Several players confirmed the hiring publicly Tuesday afternoon.

Austin, a former standout quarterback at Ole Miss, was hired by Rebels coach Houston Nutt on Jan. 16, 2008 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In two seasons on the Mississippi staff, Austin helped lead the Rebels to back-to-back nine-win seasons and consecutive Cotton Bowl victories.

"Everywhere he's gone, he's won," Cornell junior linebacker Brandon Lainhart said. "He knows what it takes and understands what it takes to win, and I'm excited about that."

Before his two-year coaching stint at Ole Miss, Austin was a successful coach and player in the Canadian Football League. He won Grey Cup titles as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

This is the second straight time Cornell has tapped Mississippi's coaching staff to fill a head coaching vacancy. Knowles was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Ole Miss before being hired by Cornell in 2004.

Cornell athletics director Andy Noel held a team meeting with a few players Sunday to tell them of the hiring, junior defensive back Emani Fenton said.

Fenton said Noel told the selected players that there were a lot of qualified candidates who applied for the job, but Austin's pedigree and character stood out.

Noel told Fenton that Austin is 7-0 in championship games as a player and coach.

"The one thing Andy said was, 'Emani, we're going to win. We're going to win this year,'" Fenton said. "He's been on the big stage, and he's not only gotten there, but he has won when he's gotten there."