MU Retires Miles Austin’s Jersey at Saturday’s Game

Former University football player and current Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin became the first athlete to ever have his jersey retired by the University on Saturday, Feb. 22.

“It’s an unbelievably humbling experience, it is such an honor,” Austin said. “I wish I could verbalize it better, because it feels great.”

Austin’s journey first began at the University nearly 12 years ago in the fall of 2002. Since then, his athletic career has been a series of firsts. When he graduated from MU in 2006, he finished as the most decorated receiver in school history. He set Hawk records for receptions (150), reception yardage (2,867), touchdowns (33) and scoring (216 points).

This all led to Austin becoming the first player from MU to be invited to participate in the NFL scouting combine, which he parlayed into a contract with the Dallas Cowboys. This also marked another MU feat as he was the first player to reach the NFL from the University. With these accomplishments, it becomes understandable why Austin was chosen as the first Hawk to have his jersey retired.

“I think it is fitting and appropriate that Miles Austin’s jersey is the first in program history to be retired,” Kevin Callahan, head football coach, said. “Miles has made significant contributions to the program, he set a standard for a level of performance at Monmouth and has continued to that in the NFL.”

Callahan is not only speaking as an everyday football coach, but as Austin’s former collegiate football coach. “Miles has remained very close to the Monmouth program and frequently returns to campus to interact with our players. He has been and continues to be a great ambassador of not just the football team but also the entire Monmouth University community,” he said.

The ceremony to honor Austin took place during halftime of the men’s basketball game against Saint Peter’s. It included a highlight tape of Austin’s college and professional career which was played over the jumbo-tron at the MAC and was followed by the revealing of his framed number 80 jersey.

When it came time to speak, Austin was so overwhelmed by the whole scene that he had difficulty finding the right words.

“It’s awesome, I think a lot better than I speak,” Austin said. “It feels great, I’m so excited.”

Austin showed the audience how humble and appreciative he is, not only from MU’s recognition, but from all the success he has enjoyed in his career and has certainly has not forgotten where he came from. “It was a blessing for me to come to school here,” Austin stated. “The fact that they gave me an opportunity to play here still shocks me.”

It became apparent just how much Austin continues to enjoy and appreciate his personal bond with the University and its community. In fact, the University not only helped further his athletic life but also gave him an addition to his personal life. Austin met his fiancée Stacy Sydlo, who was a standout lacrosse player at MU, on his first visit to the school. The couple is set to be married next week.

When asked about all of the success he enjoyed at MU, Austin was quick to deflect a lot of the praise to his teammates and his old coach with whom he took to the basketball game on Saturday.

“You were getting better because these guys were pushing you,” Austin said. “Everyone was trying to be their best; everyone was trying to push everyone to a high level. I wouldn’t have wanted to go to school with any other guys.”

In eight NFL seasons, all with the Cowboys, Austin has 301 receptions for 4,481 yards and 34 touchdowns including back to back Pro Bowls in 2009 and 2010.There has been a lot of speculation lately about Austin’s future in Dallas, but one thing is for certain, he will always be a Monmouth Hawk.