Former N.C. State football player and head coach Chuck Amato is retiring.
The University of Akron, where Amato served the past six years as defensive coordinator and associate head coach, announced Amato’s retirement via news release on Monday.
“It’s been a while that I’ve been thinking about this.” Amato said in a statement. “Bobby Bowden preached for years the three ‘F’s – faith, family, and football – in that order. 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 they just kill me. [he said with a laugh] 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.”
Amato, who played at N.C. State from 1965 to 1967, was the Wolfpack’s head coach from 2000 to 2006 after spending almost two decades as an assistant to Bobby Bowden at Florida State.
Amato, who often wore colorful outfits and shoes on game days, was 49-37 as Wolfpack coach, including the first 11-win season in N.C. State history in 2002 behind quarterback Philip Rivers. The Wolfpack went 11-3 that season, including a Gator Bowl win over Notre Dame.
“Coach Amato believed in me when I was an 18-year old kid from north Alabama,” said Rivers, the starting QB for the Los Angeles Chargers, in a statement released by Akron. “My four years playing for him at N.C. State were some of my favorite football years I have ever had. His mix of intensity and discipline, along with a swagger and passion for the game, made him unique. I’m thankful for my time with him. Coach, congrats on a great career!”
Amato, who returned to Florida State after his Wolfpack tenure, was one of Bowden’s trusted aides for 21 seasons.
“Chuck Amato worked with me over 20 years at Florida State,” Bowden said in the statement from Akron. “He was my right-hand man. He handled many of my burdens. I would give him a job to do, and I knew it would be done. He is a dedicated husband and father (and grandfather). Chuck never embarrassed any of the schools he coached. I could go on and on with superlatives. I wish Coach Amato and his family a happy life the rest of the way!”
Sam Newkirk: 919-829-4526, @samnewkirk64