In their first meeting, Tom Austin had a feeling about this high school kid from Taunton, Mass. He was polite, well-mannered, looked you in the eye during conversation. And the questions he asked—this DeCosta kid had some guts.
Colby was no football powerhouse. And DeCosta had other options. He was 5 feet, 10 inches tall and maybe—maybe—180 pounds. At any level, that’s not an ideal size for a linebacker. But other NESCAC schools, it seems, saw what Austin was about to see in the focused teenager.
“We were in the process of rebuilding the program, and Eric was not bashful about asking how it was coming, and what kind of commitment the College was making to football,” Austin said.
If only for a moment, the coach was taken aback by the kid.
“He asks questions sometimes that take some thought to answer,” Austin said. “This is a young sprout, a senior in high school. Obviously, he had done his research.”
“For me, I think that most things are relationship driven. And so when I went up there and I met Coach Austin, I just felt like … if I have to play for somebody for four years, I want to play for this guy.”—Eric DeCosta ’93
Austin liked that. DeCosta probed, and Austin replied. The kid was persuaded.
“I went to Colby primarily because of Coach Austin,” DeCosta said. “For me, I think that most things are relationship driven. And so when I went up there and I met Coach Austin, I just felt like … if I have to play for somebody for four years, I want to play for this guy.”