Akron hires ex-NC State coach Amato

Terry Bowden picked one of his dad’s former assistants to help him revive Akron.

Bowden named former North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato as his new defensive coordinator and associate head coach on Tuesday. Amato, who took the Wolfpack to five bowl games from 2000-06, spent 21 seasons on Bobby Bowden’s staff at Florida State.

”I’m incredibly excited to be able to hire someone of Chuck Amato’s caliber,” said Bowden, named Zips coach on Dec. 22. ”When I interviewed for this job, I said that was 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.”

The 65-year-old Amato went 49-37 at North Carolina State, his alma mater. He led the Wolfpack to their first 11-win season in 2002. His 2004 team led the nation in total defense.

Also, Amato coached San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who broke almost every passing record in school and Atlantic Coast Conference history while he was at North Carolina State.

Amato visited Akron before accepting the job and said he was impressed with the school’s ”second-to-none” facilities and the administration’s commitment to building a winning program.

”The decision was an easy one,” Amato said. ”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 Akron.”

The Zips went 2-22 the past two seasons under former coach Rob Ianello, fired in November.