June 30, 1999
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – One of Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden greatest strengths is his ability to delegate authority and allowing those who work for him to have success in their job. With that in mind, his selection of Chuck Amato as his assistant head coach and their long association speaks volumes for the respect each has for the other. Amato enters his 18th season as an assistant coach at Florida State and his 14th as assistant head coach this year.
1999 also marks Amato’s fourth season coaching the Seminole linebackers after coaching the defensive line for the previous 10 years since coming from the University of Arizona. He has proven just as effective in coaching the linebackers having coached two-time Butkus Award semifinalist Daryl Bush, and four NFL Draft picks (Henri Crockett, Vernon Crawford, Sam Cowart and Lamont Green) in the last three years alone.
Since joining the Florida State staff, the Eaton, PA, native has seen the Tribe defense lead the program to unprecedented national prominence. Florida State’s defense ranked No. 1 in three categories last year including overall defense, and has ranked among the Top 10 in the nation against the run six of the last seven years.
Amato’s linebacker corps in 1999 will be young but talented. Tommy Polley and Bobby Rhodes are the lone returning starters, however, Brian Allen has played a great deal and will be expected to perform like an experiened player as will Theon Rackley. Behind the trio is a great deal of talent, but very little experience.
Over 10 years of coaching the defensive line at FSU, Amato proved he could produce some of the nation’s top players. A number of Amato protgs are starting in the NFL including: Peter Boulware (Baltimore), Dan Footman (Indianapolis), Reinard Wilson (Cincinnati), Andre Wadsworth (Arizona) and Greg Spires (New England). In addition, Amato coached All-American noseguard Odell Haggins, who is now in his sixth season as an assistant coach at FSU, along with retired Denver Bronco great Alphonso Carreker. Prior to his stint at Arizona, Amato coached at his alma mater, NC State, where he was a three-year letterman in football and wrestling. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NC State and started his coaching career there by serving as a student assistant in 1968. He was named to a full-time position in 1972 and remained with the Wolfpack for the next 12 years coaching the secondary and then inside linebackers. He was promoted to defensive coordinator in 1974 and held the position for six years.
He and his wife, Peggy, are the parents of twin daughters – LuGina and Selena.
Years as a Collegiate Coach: 28
NC State – Secondary/Inside Linebackers/Defensive Coordinator (1971-1980)
Arizona – Linebackers/Defensive Coordinator (1980-82)
Florida St. – Defensive Line/Assistant Head Coach (1982-1995), Linebackers (1996-present)