College Football: N.C. State fires Amato
By Aaron Beard
RALEIGH — North Carolina State fired football coach Chuck Amato on Sunday, a day after he completed his seventh season at his alma mater.
The former Wolfpack linebacker had a 49-37 record at the school and led the team to five bowl games. But his squads were 25-31 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and never finished higher than fourth.
This season, North Carolina State (3-9) lost seven straight games to finish with a losing record for the second time in three seasons since quarterback Philip Rivers went to the NFL. On Saturday, the Wolfpack finished the season with a 21-16 home loss to East Carolina.
In a statement Sunday, athletic director Lee Fowler credited Amato with helping the Wolfpack improve their football facilities and ticket sales, but said the program needed a change in leadership. He said a search for a replacement would begin immediately.
“No Wolfpack fan can question the excitement and enthusiasm that Chuck Amato brought to the N.C. State football program when he came here in 2000,” Fowler said. “However, because the results on the field in two of the last three seasons have fallen far below where we feel our program should be at this point, we have decided to take the program in a new direction.”
Amato, who had three years remaining on his contract, said he was disappointed by the decision but proud of what he accomplished during his tenure.
“My vision was to take this program to places that it had never been before in 100-plus years of playing football,” he said in a statement. “I didn’t come here to use this job as a stepping stone like many others have or could. I wanted to surround myself with people who would help me stretch my vision and not choke my dreams.
“This is obviously a disappointing decision for me, but I would never do anything to hurt North Carolina State University.”
Amato met with the players Sunday night at Carter-Finley Stadium. Most of the players emerged from the meeting dejected and declined to comment.
Ernest Jones, a junior linebacker, said Amato was positive as he addressed the players and offered his best wishes. Jones said the blame for the Wolfpack’s struggles this year shouldn’t have fallen entirely on Amato.
“It’s not only the coaches’ fault, but the players,” Jones said. “We let the coaches down, so it’s coaches and the players also.”