John Wayne Austinson — Coach, Teacher, Leader

The Importance of Hard Work and Helping Others.

John Wayne “Austy” Austinson was born the youngest of three children to a family of educators in Rochester. His father, Paul, was a school counselor in Rochester Public Schools District. His mother, Jane, was a homemaker who spent her days raising the three children and a socialite who worked at various places in town. From a young age, John was taught the value of being nice by having his father as an example. Paul was a man of honesty, impeccable integrity and nice to everyone. His mother taught him how not only to be respectful and nice, especially to women, but also how to have a fighting spirit and never to quit.
“My mother taught me to have that fire in your belly; to never quit and never give up.”
John has been working ever since he was seven years old when he started to follow his older brother, Mark on the paper route. They delivered over 200 papers a day and John looked up to his brother as an example of a strong work ethic. Since then, he has worked a variety of other jobs in food service, retail, farming and construction work, and even for the National Football League. Each of these jobs allowed John to build a different character and a different aspect of his identity. From how to appreciate hard work in the fields, to getting a global aspect beyond the southeastern Minnesota region in the NFL, John has seen and been through a lot and met people from all aspects of life.
“All of these work made me multifaceted.
John graduated from John Marshall High School in Rochester in 1986, then an Associate’s Degree from RCTC. He then went on to get a Bachelor’s Degree in education from Mankato State University, then a Master’s Degree in Leadership, Marketing, and Management from Winona State University. While at Winona State, he was also certified as an Athletic Director.


A Veteran of Education

John has since devoted his life to public education. He was a high school social studies teacher and a football coach in Rochester before moving to the Byron School District. For 27 years, John was affectionately known as “Austy” or “Coach” to his students and players. Through teaching and coaching, John has shaped an entire generation of Rochester and Byron students. Even though John inspired the students, the students also inspired him. John attributes his patience and openness to new ideas through his teaching experience. Seeing what the students need and learning to understand their perspectives allowed John to not only be a better teacher, but also a better person.


“As I’ve aged, my patience has grown to help the students”

An Active Community Member

Aside from teaching and coaching, John has always been an active member of the community. He firmly believes in helping those who are in need. He has delivered food for Meals-On-Wheels, assisted swimming lessons for special needs students, organized and started the Byron Athletic Hall of Fame, hosted leadership camps for young men across the country through the NFL, and currently serves on the board of the Byron Community Foundation.

Me & Billy

John continually attributes his willingness to help to the influences of his father. One of his proudest achievements is helped raise thousands of dollars for
Juvenile Diabetes and over 45 local scholarships through the Brenndan Ryan Memorial Golf Tournament.
“The want to help people comes from the heart; it’s almost genetic, and my parents gave it to me and brought it out within me.”
John currently resides in Eyota with his wife, Julie. Julie is a high school counselor with over 20 years of experience in Elgin-Millville and Rochester Public Schools. His stepson Benjamin will start his senior year in 2017 at Dover-Eyota High school. In his free time, John loves exercising, spending time with his family and friends, golfing, and watching old westerns. His favorite old western movies are Tombstone and John Waynes’ El Dorado (he is also quite fond of Jaws). He is a big Vikings fan.