Bowden says Amato is final piece of top staff

Published January 18, 2007

Former Florida State assistant Chuck Amato hopes to prove that you can go home again.

Amato, who spent 18 years at FSU before becoming the head coach at his alma mater of North Carolina State, agreed Wednesday to return to Tallahassee as the executive associate head coach/linebackers coach in place of Kevin Steele, the new defensive coordinator at Alabama.

Coach Bobby Bowden said his remade staff five new coaches should form as good a group as there is in the nation.

"I feel like the blend of maturity and youth will work perfectly for us," he said. "Chuck will fill the last void we had in our staff and allow us not to miss a beat."

Amato, 60, left FSU after the Seminoles culminated the 1999 season with a win against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl to claim their second national championship. Known as a strong recruiter, Amato attracted top-shelf talent to Raleigh such as quarterback Philip Rivers and defensive end Mario Williams.

Amato's teams reached five bowl games in his seven seasons and he had an overall record of 49-37 (4-3 against FSU). He also helped spearhead a massive upgrade in facilities. Still, the Wolfpack never finished better than fourth in the ACC under him; it was last in the Atlantic Division this past season. That cost him his job, but made him available when Steele left.

"I'm excited about being back on board at Florida State and the opportunity Coach Bowden is giving me," said Amato, who remained in close touch with Bowden over the years, talking weekly as if he were a son. "I'm looking forward to working with Coach Bowden, Coach (Mickey) Andrews, Odell (Haggins) and John (Lilly) again as well as the rest of the staff."