SI.com college football writer Stewart Mandel shares his commentary, analysis and random tidbits on the latest developments around the country.
9/13/2006 01:12:00 PM
Chesty Chuck Strikes Again
If N.C. State continues to stumble, Chuck Amato could very well be done after this season.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Among the many titles N.C. State coach Chuck Amato has earned over the past several years -- snazzy dresser, king of the chests, worst head coach in the country -- we can now add a new one: Sore loser. In a press conference Monday following the Wolfpack's embarrassing loss to Akron, Amato, in one of the strangest excuses for a loss I think I've ever heard, began inexplicably ranting about a perceived unfair advantage the Zips had over his program.
"They [the Zips] are in a conference that allows non-qualifiers in school," Amato told reporters. "Non-qualifiers. Do y'all need to look that one up to write your stories? You know what kind of players non-qualifiers are usually? They're inversely proportional to what their grade-point average is. They can make a big difference."
Rrrrright. For the record, Akron has three former non-qualifiers on its roster. Would Chuck really have us believe that the advantage the Zips gained from these three players overrides the immense disparity in resources and exposure between N.C. State, which plays in a BCS-funded conference, goes to bowl games almost every year and averaged nearly 53,000 in attendance last season, and Akron, which plays in the MAC, just earned its first-ever bowl bid last season and played in front of 10,893 fans a game in '05? As if that wasn't enough, Amato, according to the Durham Herald-Sun, went on to throw Fresno State (which hasn't accepted a non-qualifier since 2002), Boise State (has never had one on scholarship) and Louisville (has two) into his rant as well. And oh, by the way, Akron had a higher Graduation Success Rate than Chuck's team in the NCAA's most recent report.
And now you know why Amato is such an unpopular figure in Raleigh. The last thing fans want to hear when you're struggling (the Wolfpack are 13-12 since 2004 after going 34-17 during Amato's first four seasons) are excuses, particularly ones as asinine as that. In fact, one could argue that Amato's penchant for condescension has been his biggest downfall, because while criticism of coaches is hardly unique to Amato, rarely will you find such outward animosity. The N.C. State alum was booed in his own stadium last year when his picture showed up on the JumboTron. Amato is even the subject of an elaborate and hysterical cartoon parody on the Raleigh News and Observer's Web site (and no, I did not link to this because of my own brief cameo -- it's just really funny).
The thing is, under normal circumstances, losing to Akron at the last second isn't nearly as galling as it might seem. The Zips won the MAC last year, have a solid, veteran QB in Luke Getsy and are perfectly capable of knocking off a mid-level ACC team that happens to be in a transition year. But with the current climate around Amato's program, this was about the worst thing that could have happened -- and he only made it worse with his comments. Personally, the only way I see Chesty Chuck surviving beyond this season is if the Wolfpack win at least eight games and at least come close to winning their division. With a black hole at quarterback and a whole lot of young defenders, it’s tough to see that happening.
OK, i am an NC State student, but i hate the idea of bashing or booing your current coach. if he is your coach, try and support him. I never booed Herb Sendek, but now that he´s gone, i think thats great. And i won´t boo Chuck, but GOSH what was he thinking when he said that?
That last paragragh pretty much sums it up. A lose to Akron isn´t as bad as all the stupid sports writers in Raleigh are making it out to be, but it couldn´t have come at a worse time, or in a worse way. Especially when Bill Cowher buys a house in Raleigh and it is rumored that the university is willing to give him the job on a platter, probably with chuck´s head as well.
Chuck can go 0-12 this year, and his job will be safe at NC State. He has a rough relationship with the media here in Raleigh mainly because they try and "bait" him weekly. He's a straight shooter with less-than-stellar public speaking skills. His last few seasons haven't been the greatest, but he has the support of the school, the students and the alumni.
His rant about the Zips NQs is deservedly criticized, however I encourage you to read the entire exchange with the reporter who was questioning Amato.
Cut the guy some slack. There are other coaches in the Triangle area who deserve to be under the microscope just as much as Amato (cough...Bunting...cough)
Were you there? If so I'd like to know where you were sitting to see the debris thrown on the field because I did not see it.
As for the comment; he should have never said it. It has however been taken out of context in that he was trying to make a point to a beat writer, Chip Alexander, that Akron is not a bad team and has good players. Chip continued to ask how can you lose to a team like Akron and Amato finally gave in and took the bait. That was a mistake.
Finally, Chuck Amato is only on the hotseat in the minds of national sports writers like yourself.
I was at the game and no debris thrown at Chuck, and the boo birds were focused on the officials that erroneously called the play a TD when he never made it in.
It's completely irresponsible for SI to publish this drivel for people to take it as fact. Yes, there are concerns in Raleigh, but Chuck is nowhere near being run off. Instead of writing the truth, you have chosen to spread lies to sell your story.
I was watching on TV, and as he got to the tunnel, you could quite clearly see stuff flying at him. If, by chance, the refs were behind him and were the intended target, then I apologize - though if that's the case, the tossers must have had really bad aim.
funny thing that the young man that "scored" the winning touchdown was originally signed by Ohio State but couldn't get in...
Also, did you listen or read the ENTIRE press conference?...didn't think so. And nothing he said was incorrect. Should have it been said, nah, probably not. Having said that, Akron is a good team and scared me from the get go but the MAC takes non qualifiers and they won a very big game w/ one.
Chuck Amato gave kudos to the Akron Zips months ago, he gave kudos to their football team all last week and he gave kudos to them in pre-game and post-game press conferences. He gave kudos to them on Monday and Tuesday during his press conference. The non-qualifier thing was only a portion of one long answer, it was a snippet and it was ALL true. Chuck recruited defensive lineman Robinson early, the high school #1 ranked defensive lineman was recruited by eeryone. When grades became an issue, most schools had to drop his recruitment. Same for the good running back that had committed with Ohio State, only to find out he did not qualify. Chuck's been in the coaching business for 37 years and he has coaching contacts. He knew Akron has non-qualifiers and the Akron coach told him when asked that he had 10 in 2005 and 8 in 2006; the school says different. Chuck did not lie when he answered a question, he told the truth. Maybe Fresno St. could have been left out of the answer but it was the truth. If that embarrasses Fresno State or anyone else, they should do something about it; if it embarrasses the NCAA, it should do something about it. If it doesn't, why do they care what a coach in NC says? Sure non-qualifiers go to prep schools, junior colleges, etc. to improve their standing and are often recruited when they do. They become full qualifiers!! Some guys don't want that route and often switch their favorite school because they can't get in. They choose a school that accepts non-qualifiers! Big deal! It was a snippet; a small part of a long answer and it was truthful. It wasn't an excuse for losing. Chuck said that game is over and he's not happy about losing it...bad call on the final play of not!! Stewart Madrell says Chuck Amato is the worst coach in America and Bobby Bowden says he's one of the very best! Apples and rotten oranges or vice versa. I can't see any flying debris in my DVD of the game and I could not see it at the stadium! If there was any it was because the guys elbow was down pre-endzone and the 3 video boards showed he was!
Chuck J is a typical NCSU fan. Trying to make the national media aware of what NCSU fans perceive as a problem at UNC. I am a NCSU alum and can safely say that NCSU fans are some of the best and some of the worst. Some look on the positives and move on, others like Chuck try to shift the focus to UNC without just cause. Bunting is a better coach then Amato, just not as good of a recruiter. More importantly Bunting has never made a PR nightmare of a comment like Amato's garbled rant. For a Div. 1 school to call out multiple other Universities like that is unacceptable and he should be taken to task for it. This guy has had zero success at controlling penalties for 7 years, Hasnt put a viable offense on the field since P Rivers left, and now gives his university a black eye with an uneducated uniformed comment. I agree the wolfpack club is behind Amato and he wont be fired, but NCSU fans are growing impatient, at least a decent population of fans. The last time this happened coach Sendek left of his own accord because he was sick of the fans treatment. I see Amato doing the same to try and save some face. I give him to the end of the year before he bolts for greener pastures. I for one will look forward to a new coach to lead the pack to prominence. I am sure others will blame his leaving on the media and probably UNC.
The ACC has higher academic standards than these conferences do, so if the athlete is considered a non-qualifier in the ACC it is possible for them to go play in a conference like the MAC as long as they meet NCAA standards. Akron has more than three players that would be considered non-qualifiers in the ACC. If you take the time to read the question asked by the reporter you would see that Chuck only brought this up in defense for the Akron team.
I get all the defense, and it may be from all the assistant coaches on the staff, but you can't have four good years with one of the ACCs best QBs ever and then fall off the map without being on the hot seat. His success looks suspiciously like Barry Switzer watching Dallas win a Super Bowl without having much to do with it. (ie. great players that my mom could coach to victory).
And to me, 8 games doesn't cut it anymore now that they play 12 games. Out of 12, NC State only has four teams that they should lose to on their schedule, FSU, GaTech, Clemson, and BC. To be moving forward you should win at least one of those games. Same goes for Fran at Texas A&M. He could go 8-4 and lose to the only teams that matter: UT, OU, TT, and Nebraska, how can that "save" his job?
If NC State wants to move forward out of mediocrity, they have to move on from Chuck.
By the way, I'm an Auburn fan, nothing to do with anything ACC.
State fans face-it, The Akron Zips simply beat NC state. If you look at the stats State was beat in every field. State was losing the entire game and finally scored a field goal in the third quarter. Akron is a much better team than they were 5 yrs ago when the schedule was made. Afterall they won the MAC title and played well at Penn state. The real problem is NC has gotten worse and under estimated Akron. and now they are sore-loser and embarresed period end of story.
I live in charlotte and listen to a local sports talk radio station every day (610 am WFNZ)and NCSU fans have got to be some of the worst in the country. They always call in and beat their chests every year and then make nothing but excuses after they are repeatedly exposed. I personally want to see Chesty stay so I can listen to them every day. It is pure, 100%, unintentional comedy at its finest. NCSU is is has-been in every sport.
To Matt, your line about the ACC having higher standards than the MAC is a joke; are Duke, UVa, WF, BC & UNC great schools? No question, as are most of the other schools in the league. But lumping NC St. in with those others is like ASU or Wazzu claiming excellence by proxy because of Stanford, Cal & UCLA. NCSU has lower standards, more resources & fewer excuses for the current state of their program than anyone else in the ACC. Period.
I am a state fan like everyone else thought State would roll over Akron, however; Akron played well our offense did not. We are sorry we lost to a unranked Akron, but we have to give them credit, because the game should not have come down to one final play on the one yard line. Go Zips and Go Amato!!!!
do you guys know that Amato was asked 17 times in a row on why state lost to Akron at home. Not once has anyone in the media cared to look at the interview as a whole, but only wants to find something in it to try and create sensationalism. I guess if that's what they pay you to do. Too bad integrity isn't part of a reporters job anymore.
I'm an Auburn fan.. and we had a big win against LSU. Both defenses looked great and I sure as hell don't want to play them again. I guess what I'm trying to get at here is the SEC IS THE BEST CONFERENCE IN THE COUNTRY!
Here's the evidence..
I just watched Fla St lose to Clemson. And Clemson lost to Boston College last week. Miami got blown out by Louisville. Maybe Duke might end up in the ACC title game???
USC is the only decent team here.. They play cupcakes all year long, so when they play a quality team, their players are fresh and it makes them look better than they actually are.
Ohio St. beat the crap out of Texas.. And Michigan beat Notre Dame. Big freakin deal because they're the only good teams in their conference. (Please see the reference to the Pac 10)
All of the other conferences aren't worth mentioning in this email so I'll leave it at that!!
why is urban still running the offense that didnt work last year instead of the more spurrierieque offense they ran at the end of the year last year against FSU and IOWA that netted so many yards?? Air Force warmed UT up to the option and urban should have know they would figure it out by the time they showed up. GO AF!!!!!!
i dont know why no one is talking about this, but not only was the Oklahoma call terrible regarding who touched the ball, but Oklahoma actually recovered the ball. If you watch the replay the ball come squirting out of the pile. The officials said that Oklahoma took the ball away, but that just isnt true. I am not a fan of either team.
I've read and heard many comments about the Ducks and the questionable onside kick. It is unfortunate that some say OU was robbed of the game by that call. It seems obvious to me that if OU would have prevented the Ducks from scoring after the bad call they would have won, or if they had made their field goal they would have won. So to blame the loss strictly on that call is just silly. If we're going to analyze the officials then analyze every call. OU scored a touchdown because their receiver clearly pushed the Oregon defender in the back prior to catching the ball and two plays prior was able to continue a play that should have been a delay of game. The officials were bad the entire game.
Your are so wrong anonymous. If you can see it clearly as did the rest of the nation it happaned. 3 TIMES OFFICIALS/REPLAY HANDICAPPED THE SOONERSON THE SAME DRIVE!!!!! TAINTED WIN FOR OREGON. HOPEFULLY THE POLLSTERS WILL USE THEIR HEAD WHEN VOTING