Chuck Amato and his trademark sunglasses won’t be stalking the sideline and exhorting the University of Akron football team’s defense this fall.

Amato, who arrived with coach Terry Bowden six years ago, announced Monday that he is retiring as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Zips. Coach Terry Bowden said personal issues played a role in the announcement.

“Bobby Bowden preached for years the three F’s ­— faith, family, and football — in that order,” Amato said in a news release. “My wife has a sister and brother who are not doing well right now, and I’ve got twin boys [grandsons] in my house, and,” he joked, “they just kill me. I said to myself, ‘Maybe it’s time to go ahead and let someone else do it.’

“Just be happy and glad. I’ve been around. I’ve been to the top of the mountain twice, and if it wasn’t for a wide left and a wide right, there’d be five of them [national championships]. But I’m ready to retire, and I have to find something to do. If anybody out there has something they can give me, call me.”

Bowden said he understands what Amato, whom he’s known since Bowden was a graduate assistant for his father at Florida State, is going through.

“He’s been contemplating it for a while,” Bowden said. “It’s a hard decision. He’s 71 years old. He’s been contemplating it for two or three weeks. He cried like a baby in front of the team because he’s walking away from his career. He’s ready to retire — it’s just not easy to do.”

Amato took a defense that was among the Mid-American Conference’s worst and turned it into one of the league’s best in 2015, when UA linebackers Jatavis Brown and Dylan Evans roamed from sideline to sideline making plays along with a defensive line that included Cody Grice.

When Amato arrived at UA, he set a goal of creating an SEC defense in the MAC. He came close that year.

That defense ranked No. 15 overall in the country in rushing yards allowed per game and led the Zips to a victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The Zips have gone to bowl games in two of the past three seasons.

That unit represented Amato’s best defense at UA, as the team has since worked to replace players who possessed incredible chemistry on the field. The 2016 season proved to be a struggle as the Zips as a team suffered a rash of injuries that sidelined key players on both sides of the ball.

Although the Zips defense showed some moments during the 2017 regular season, they gave up a combined 97 points in losses in the MAC Championship Game and the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl.

Amato has had a hand in sending two UA linebackers — Justin March-Lillard and Brown — to the NFL. If current standout linebacker Ulysees Gilbert eventually joins them, Amato will have played a major part in his development.

Amato solidified his reputation as a defensive guru while coaching for Florida State from 1982-1999 and 2007-09. He was part of 10 ACC championship teams and national championship squads in 1993 and 1999,

He left FSU to serve as head coach for his alma mater, North Carolina State, from 2000 to 2006. During that time, his teams went 4-1 in five bowl games and 49-37 overall.

Bowden’s defensive staff has been together for years, so Amato’s retirement means Bowden must find a defensive coordinator. As for any possible changes in scheme, he said it’s too soon to say.

“We’ve got nine starters back on defense,” Bowden said. “You don’t want to mess it up.”

George M. Thomas can be reached at gmthomas@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Zips blog at www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ.