El Cerrito High coach, athletic director George Austin dies

El Cerrito High coach, athletic director George Austin dies
El Cerrito High Coach George Austin (right) takes a photo with University of Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh.

The community is in mourning following the death of El Cerrito High football coach and athletic director George Austin.

Austin died early Wednesday. In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the coach had complained about having to “go back to surgery for the 3rd time in three weeks.”

His death has stunned the school community where he was coach, athletic director and teacher over the course of about three decades. Starting in 1988, Austin taught a variety of subject including English, mathematics, world history, and advanced placement American Government.

His students and players are heartbroken by news of his death, with many posting comments on his Facebook account.

“He was absolutely one of the most caring and laid back teachers I ever had,” one former student said. “He actually took the time to talk to, listen to and then even follow up with his students.”

Another said he was more than a coach, but a “village uncle” that would “check you and love you all at the same time.”

“He would fight for us, he would take on the administrators,” the former student said.

He may have been born and raised in Ohio, but he was “100-percent Gaucho,” another said.

While serving as AD, Coach Austin took over the head coaching job from Kenny Kahn last year and led the Gauchos to an 8-4 season and appearance in the second round of the North Coast Section playoffs. According to the East Bay Times, Austin had planned to hand the head coaching role this season to defensive coordinator Jacob Rincon.