Terry Bowden wasted no time in hiring a big name as his second-in-command.
Former NC State head coach and long-time Florida State assistant Chuck Amato will lead the Zips' defense and serve as associate head coach.
AKRON, Ohio – Chuck Amato, who boasts 39 years of experience in the collegiate coaching ranks including serving as head coach at North Carolina State and long-time assistant coach at Florida State, has been named The University of Akron football program's associate head coach and defensive coordinator, head coach Terry Bowden announced on Tuesday.
Amato is one of the most respected coaches and recruiters in college football and has produced winning football teams and numerous top draft picks throughout his career.
"I am incredibly excited to be able to hire someone of Chuck Amato's caliber," said Bowden, who was named head coach of the Zips on Dec. 22. "When I interviewed for this job, I said that the most important hire I could make would be bringing in a defensive coordinator that would have the experience, reputation and enthusiasm to build our defense. I will spend much of my time implementing the offense, so getting the right guy on defense was essential. From the very first moment, Chuck has been that guy. He will be an exciting addition to the staff and Akron family, and I know our current players as well as recruits will be excited to be a part of the style of play he will immediately bring to the defense."
Amato, 65, served as head coach at his alma mater NC State from 2000-06 and posted a 49-37 record while guiding the program to five bowl appearances. He led the Wolfpack to their first 11-win season in school history in 2002 and highest national ranking (No. 12) since 1974. The 2004 NC State squad led the nation in total defense. Additionally under Amato, quarterback Philip Rivers rewrote the program and ACC record books in every passing and total offense category. During his tenure, he had 22 players drafted into the NFL, including five in the first round.
"When Terry called me and asked if I would consider coming to Akron to be a part of his new staff, I told him that I really wanted to come and visit the campus before making a decision," Amato said. "After seeing that the University's facilities are second to none, and hearing first hand the type of commitment the entire administration has to building a winning football program, the decision was an easy one. I was very excited to tell Terry that I wanted to help him do whatever it takes to get the job done at Akron. Terry has always come up with the right formula to win everywhere he has coached, and I know that we will all work tirelessly together to accomplish our goals. I will recruit relentlessly, coach our players with the same intensity and help to bring a winning mentality to the Akron Zips football team."
Amato spent 21 seasons on the staff at Florida State (1982-1999 and 2007-09). In his most recent stint (2007-09) he served as executive head coach to then-head coach Bobby Bowden. From 1982-95 he coached the defensive line, 1996-99 the linebackers and from 1986-99 also served as assistant head coach. He was part of 10 ACC championship teams and two national championship squads (1993 and 1999). Six of his Seminole players were selected in the NFL Draft's first round and 24 defensive players overall that he directly coached were drafted during his FSU tenure.
Amato was also a member of the NC State staff from 1971-79, serving as graduate assistant (1971-72), defensive secondary coach (1973-75) and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach (1976-79). He also coached linebackers at Arizona from 1980-81. His coaching career began at Easton High School in his hometown of Easton, Pa., where he was an assistant coach from 1969-70.
Amato lettered in football and wrestling at NC State, where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1969 and master's degree in education in 1973. The 1965 football team won an ACC co-championship and he was captain of the defense in 1967. He won two ACC titles as a wrestler in 1966 and 1968.
He and his wife, Peggy, have twin daughters, LuGina and Selena.
Amato's Career Coaching History:
1969-70 – Easton (Pa.) High School (assistant coach)
1971-72 – NC State (graduate assistant)
1973-75 – NC State (defensive secondary coach)
1976-79 – NC State (defensive coordinator / linebackers coach)
1980-81 – Arizona (linebackers coach)
1982-95 – Florida State (defensive line)
1996-99 – Florida State (linebackers coach)
1986-99 – Florida State (assistant head coach)
2000-06 – NC State (head coach) (49-37 record)
2007-09 – Florida State (executive head coach)
2012 – Akron (associate head coach / defensive coordinator)