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Area football: Austin hired to turn Ellsworth around

Former Goodhue football coach Clair Austin was hired to fill the same job at Ellsworth and charged with reviving a moribund program. Since making the playoffs in 2007, the Panthers are 2-25 and they endured a 23-game losing streak.

Ellsworth went with a proven winner in Austin, who was appointed to his new position Monday. Austin led Goodhue to 11 section title games, eight state tournament appearances and two state championships during his 13-year tenure.

"My first goal coming in is to see if we can't build a work ethic and continuity and some stability to the program," Austin said. "The Ws will start to take care of themselves as long as we have the work ethic in order."

Austin replaces John Groh, who stepped down in February after two years at the helm because of a desire to spend more time with his family.

Austin resigned as the Wildcats' coach two months later, saying he'd achieved his goals in Class A football. He sought a job at a larger program, and Ellsworth satisfied that objective as a Division 3 school.

"Most of the things I was going for fell through and I just wanted to stay in the coaching ranks," Austin said. "This allows me to take my program to a bigger school and see if my program works (in) that bigger school system."

Austin is a proponent of a ball-control offense and an opportunistic defense that attempts to prevent the big plays.

"Keep it simple," Austin said of his approach. "That's kind of where I've been. In high school football the more simple you keep it I think the better off you are."

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