Football Zebras has confirmed that former NFL referee Gerald Austin has left his post as coordinator of football officials for Conference USA. The conference posted the job opening to their website today.
“Gerald’s role is going to change, but he will continue to work with Conference USA,” said Russ Anderson, assistant commissioner for football and baseball operations, in an e-mail to Football Zebras
Austin, 80, has headed the football officiating for the conference since 2001. He has also been working as a consultant for Raiders coach Jon Gruden, assisting with replay decisions during games. Austin was a rules analyst on Monday Night Football from 2012 to 2017 sharing the broadcast booth with Gruden.
Austin officiated in the NFL from 1982 to 2007, and was promoted from side judge to referee in the 1990 season.
During his tenure in Conference USA, Austin most notably hired Sarah Thomas as an official directly from the high school level. On Sunday, Thomas will be the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.
The conference has already begun its search for a new coordinator of football officials. Austin did not respond to our request for comment before publishing.
Mark Schultz contributed to this report.