Bobcats To Honor Long Time Football Coach Ray Austin (10/11/12)

The Clarion Bobcats will host the Punxsutawney Chucks, in their Homecoming Football Game on Friday October 19th, and making the night extra special this year will be a pre-game ceremony to honor long time Bobcat Coach Ray Austin.

Coach Austin spent 30 years coaching young men, 28 of those years at Clarion, having spent his first two years as an assistant at Blairsville. Coming to Clarion in 1959, Coach’s first position was as an assistant under another legendary Bobcat Coach, Norm Zwald.

During his tenure at Clarion, Coach Austin was an assistant Varsity coach, Junior High Head Coach and Varsity Head Coach, a position he held for 13 years (1975-1987).

Coach Austin had a record of 83-34-6 as Head Varsity Coach,  placing him 3rd on the Bobcats’ all time victory list. Equally, if not more impressive, is his over-all 30 year coaching record. Combining his Varsity and Jr. High Head Coaching and Varsity Assistant Coaching record, Coach Austin’s record is 190 wins, 63 losses and nine ties.

As Head Coach, he had two undefeated seasons (1978 and 1986), two Little Twelve Conference Championship teams (1982, 1983) and  five Eastern Division Championship teams (1975, 1978 and three straight from 1981-1983). His last game for the Bobcats was the first ever D-9 Class A Championship Game, against Johnsonburg, at Dubois.

Among the young men he mentored on Varsity were two Conference Linemen of the Year, four Backs of the Year, 6 All-Staters, two Big 33 players and one player who went on to play at Penn State.

Coach Austin states, “I would like to thank all the young men that gave me the opportunity to be part of their football experience, while I was at Clarion. And at the same time, I would like to thank all the moms and dads of all those young men, that allowed me to be part of and to share in their sons’ football experiences. I really appreciate the opportunity to work with their boys. And thirdly, my wife Patty, who is a former football cheerleader, for her extra help and her great ideas that she made available to me, in my years of my coaching experience here at Clarion.”

Coach Austin didn’t single out any players, by name, so as not to miss any and also for the fact that he has always seen football as a team game. His coaching philosophy: Keep it simple (don’t have a lot of offense but enough to make it successful). Make sure every one knows their assignment. Repetition: know what to do no guesswork.  He said the bottom line is having fun and that when the game is over and you look at yourself in the mirror, and are satisfied with what you did, you know you did your best.

Mentioning some of the assistants to help him over the years, Coach Austin mentioned, in no particular order: Bob Lawrence, current Head Coach Larry Wiser, Alex Arth, Kevin Fitsimmons and Mike Shirey, Paul Mowrey, Bill Wilhelm and Bob Murphy and Coach Austin’s son Scott. He also gives special mention to a man he worked with as an assistant under Coach Zwald, Dave “Red” Bevevino, who recently passed away.

Some of Coach’s  Bobcat memories include: A Junior High game where they played Franklin’s JV’s. They didn’t know until they got to Franklin, that they would be playing the JV’s. Clarion won the game; The first D-9 title game in the bitter cold at Dubois; his first game as Head Varsity Coach a 7-6 victory against C-L; and his first Conference Championship game a 14-13 loss to Karns City, where K-C scored in the final minute.

He feels some of his better teams were: his first one in 1975, the one in the above mentioned Championship game against K-C; the 1981 team (8-1); 1982 (9-1); 1983 (5-3 regular season and still won the Conference Championship game and 1986. He says these stand out because of the effort the teams put forth.

Coach Austin’s family includes his wife Patricia “Patty,” daughter Kimberly, a former Cheerleader and Son Scott, his former assistant who was also the head coach at A-C Valley and an assistant at Barnwell (SC) high school, which was in the South Carolina State Championship Game several years.

We invite all of Coach Austin’s players, parents, and coaching partners and other friends to come out and share in Coach’s special day.