One of the most prolific assistant coaches of his era has hung up his whistle. Chuck Amato, 71, announced his retirement from coaching 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. 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.”
As referenced in his statement above, Amato is best known for his space in the Bowden orbit. He spent 21 seasons on Bowden’s staff, split into two stints. He was a key cog in helping Bowden built Florida State into the juggernaut it is today, working as the Seminoles’ defensive line coach from 1982-95 and then as linebackers coach from 1996-99. That success led him to the NC State head coaching job, where he went 49-37 in seven seasons from 2000-06. Amato’s Wolfpack peaked with an 11-3 record and a top-15 final ranking in both polls in 2002, but he was let go after a 3-9 campaign in ’06.
After that firing, Amato returned to Tallahassee’s to serve as the executive assistant to the head coach from 2007-09. Bowden retired after the 2009 season and Amato spent a couple seasons out of the game before returning as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator on Terry Bowden‘s staff at Akron, where he remained from 2012 until today.
A former NC State linebacker, Amato jumped into coaching at the Pennsylvania high school level in 1969 before returning to his alma mater from 1971-79. He spent two seasons at Arizona before first joining the Florida State staff in 1982.
“He was my right-hand man,” Bobby Bowden said Monday. “He handled many of my burdens. I would give him a job to do, and I knew it would be done. I told Chuck one time, ‘If I can keep you around, I could coach 25 more years.’ He assisted our defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews many of those years with great defenses. 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!”