New name in USF DC search: Chuck Amato
Former Miami coach Randy Shannon has taken a job as linebackers coach at Arkansas. FSU assistant Greg Hudson looks to be returning to ECU and his old job as defensive coordinator there, according to Footballscoop.com.
And as Willie Taggart approaches four weeks as USF's head football coach without a defensive coordinator being named, a new name emerged as a potential hire Thursday night: Former N.C. State coach and FSU assistant Chuck Amato, 66, who spent this past season as Terry Bowden's defensive coordinator at Akron.
With Taggart's offensive background, it makes sense that he would want an experienced defensive coordinator, essentially a head coach for the defense, much like Skip Holtz found three years ago in former Marshall head coach Mark Snyder. Amato has a long history of recruiting in the state of Florida, having two stints as a Florida State assistant under Bobby Bowden. His resume as a head coach boasts the first shutout in USF's history, as his N.C. State team in 2005 shut the Bulls out 14-0 in Charlotte in USF's first-ever bowl game.
But Amato was out of football in 2010-11 after Bobby Bowden's retirement, coming back to join Terry's staff this year. And his Akron defense wasn't anything to be excited about -- the Zips went 1-11 with their only win against I-AA Morgan State. Akron finished 11th out of 13 MAC teams in scoring defense (allowing 35.7 points per game) and eighth in total defense, allowing 450 yards per game. The Zips finished last in the league with five interceptions and 13 total takeaways, and tied for last in the league in turnover margin (minus-14).
Bowden's staff at Akron inherited a program that had gone 1-11 in each of the previous two years, and Amato wouldn't be hired based on anything he's done in the last three years. If he were named USF's defensive coordinator, it's reasonable to think he might bring a defensive assistant or two from Akron -- his defensive backs coach there is former FSU and NFL standout Terrell Buckley, whose name recognition could carry weight in recruiting.