Gerald Austin, a public school administrator for 30 years, became one of the NFL’s most respected officials. Austin’s officiating career began when he was in 10th grade after being asked to help by his high school basketball coach. For nine years, Austin was a basketball and football official for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Austin had the honor of officiating the 1978 Liberty Bowl and the 1977 Orange Bowl before becoming an NFL American football official from 1982 to 2007. Austin officiated three Super Bowls, one as a side judge and two as a referee. Austin also served as a lecturer and coordinator of collegiate football officials for Conference USA. He was the recipient of the 2005 Art McNally Award, the NFL’s highest honor of sportsmanship. In 2007, Austin was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.