Amato on “Hot Seat” Talk

Here’s the write-up in the N&O. Excerpt:

When asked after practice Monday if he felt like he was on a “hot seat” in his seventh season, Amato quickly replied, “Why should I? No. Why should I?”

Amato noted all the improvements to a renovated Carter-Finley Stadium, noting, “That wasn’t there five, six years ago.”

Then there’s his record. Amato is 46-28 overall in six seasons, with four wins in five bowl games. He is 23-25 in ACC play.

“To build a program you’ve got to win it within the state first,” he said. “And in this state, there are five Division I-A schools. Check the records in the last six years. The second-winningest school in this state has won 30 [UNC]. That’s five a year. We’re two [victories] shy of winning eight a year.

Amato also compared his bowl record to that of the other programs in the state over the past 5 years, but Chip Alexander pointed out a pretty significant factual inaccuracy.

So, what are we to make of this? For one, the fire in the belly is good. The pride in getting the new facilities up and running is well justified. That said, there is alot about the statement that I very much don’t like. And as a proper disclaimer, I am certain that other SFN bloggers don’t necessarily share my opinion. See this link for a very vibrant, healthy discussion triggered by a different point of view.

I really, really dislike so much emphasis on how NC State compares to Duke, UNC, and Wake – consistently the three worst teams in the conference. One would certainly hope that we are better than that. It’s a bridge too far to claim hot seat immunity for not being in the bottom quadrant of the league – certainly over the long haul, such a position is untenable. Just as certainly, the bar is not set by being better than O’Cain (any more than it was for Sendek to just be better than Les). That almost goes without saying – if Amato hadn’t been better than O’Cain, we wouldn’t even be having this “hot seat” talk – he’d be fired already (well, at least under any AD not named Lee Fowler). Long-term (over, say, 7-10 years) we are going to expect more. Fair or unfair, that’s reality.

What is also reality is that our momentum as a program has slipped. Over the past 2 seasons, Amato’s ACC record is 6-10. Over the last 3 years, it’s 10-14. Is that fireable? Probably not. Is it something to brag about? Certainly not. All of the past 3 seasons can be fairly characterized as underachieving, even based on reasonable standards. We did win bowl games in 2 of those years – against arguably the worst bowl participants (Kansas and South Florida) each season. Again, there’s no shame in that, but not really something to crow about. It is, at minimum, an unfortunate failure to capitalize on the special Gator Bowl season. Which is why the next two seasons are critical – it’s time to see a spark of overachievement, or the pattern will be impossible to ignore.

By expecting more – believe me, I understand that the new ACC is tough. There will be ups and downs. Hell, I am even willing to accept that the strong, deep “middle class” of the league means that some years will end in records of 2-6, or even 1-7. But we need to at least periodically compete for at least the division title, and occasionally find ourself in the title game. After all, there are lots of solid teams in the Atlantic Division, but only one bully – Florida State – a team that Amato has had good success against. Having our guanateed annual “rivalry” game against the second weakest program in the Coastal Division (UNC) should also give us a competitive advantage against every team other than Wake, which obviously faces much greater barriers to success than its schedule.

Am I saying Amato is (or should be) on the hot seat? Not really. Ultimately, it’s really just a matter of semantics, because Lee Fowler would rather shoot himself in the groin with a nail gun than hire another revenue sport coach. The whole Sendek fiasco means that Amato can go 2-10, and do his press conference without pants. He’s not going anywhere. That said, it most certainly is fair to ask questions about the status of the program, and to cast a skeptical eye until we see a better product on the field. It could happen this year, or it could happen next year. But Amato needs to produce it, and we (as State fans) need to see it. The honeymoon days of blind optimism are over, and the lingering (if fading, and definitely less prominent) “Cult of Chuck” mentality seems a bit deluded.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

'06 Football Chuck Amato General Media NCS Football

54 Responses to Amato on “Hot Seat” Talk

  1. cfpack03 08/22/2006 at 11:03 AM #

    wait til next year

  2. 82grad 08/22/2006 at 11:15 AM #

    talk about rambling…….

  3. VaWolf82 08/22/2006 at 11:43 AM #

    Lee Fowler would rather shoot himself in the groin with a nail gun than hire another revenue sport coach.

    There’s a Coke spewing line if I’ve ever read one. I’m still laughing about it.

    2002 was a very good year. However, a coach should be expected to have more than one very good year per decade. Most people would probably agree with my last two statements. The disagreements will come in defining “a very good season” and how often they are expected.

  4. Wulfpack 08/22/2006 at 12:00 PM #

    This is a fantastic summary of the current situation. It’s all about what have you done for me lately. The pre-Rivers/post-Rivers analysis has been well documented. The fact of the matter is we haven’t been improving. We’ve fallen off and now our standard for a successful season is to qualify for a bowl game. Ok, great, Kansas and UConn and UNLV have those same standards. I’d rather have a team that plays in a barn that can excite this fan base and compete for an ACC title than a .500 team playing in a ‘renovated’ Carter-Finley. Amato is clearly a heck of a salesman. Now it’s time to see whether he can actually coach or not. Let’s see it.

  5. ncsu96 08/22/2006 at 12:48 PM #

    NC State is in North Carolina… This means we pull primarily from the talent pool as UNC, Wake, and Duke. The majority of our players are from North Carolina… just like UNC. We fight for the same limited talent pool that is also constantly pilfered by nearby ‘football-first’ schools (Tenn, VT, Clemson). It’s not easy to build a football juggernaut in North Carolina… Amato is absolutely correct in this assertion.

    I readily admit comparing us to Wake/Duke is a stretch for other obvious reasons (privat schools, crappy facilities, etc, etc).

    I’m not saying I agree 100% with Amato’s argument but he’s also not entirely off base either.

  6. Gene 08/22/2006 at 1:04 PM #

    It is, at minimum, an unfortunate failure to capitalize on the special Gator Bowl season.

    In retrospect, we could’ve been 9-2, the following season, had we beaten OSU and FSU. Those games went into triple OT and we lost.

    I remember being down on the goal line of OSU, on the final play of the 3rd OT and an injured TA McClendon couldn’t punch it through for the win.

    We were close, in Rivers’ senior year of having a good season, with notable wins, even with an inexperienced and poor defense.

  7. Devon162 08/22/2006 at 1:16 PM #

    Three seasons ago, when we started 9-0, I remember well that we had not played any really good teams. We’d played a few “decent” teams but not anyone good. Then, they lost the remaining three games of the season. The Gator Bowl win was fantastic and cured the serious woes many of us were experiencing at the time. My, how quickly everyone forgets that time. Prior to the Gator Bowl win, we had great expectations. Since then, we’ve had disappointments upon disappointments characterized by Amato boasting over hollow achievements. The last time I looked, the stadium renovations were paid for by enthusiastic supporters who had bought into the hype around the program. Amato built hype (and continues to do so on a foundation of sand) but then takes credit for the results of that hype without delivering his side of the bargain. Let’s all stop pretending he is responsible for the stadium renovations. That, my friends, is what loyal fans have built.

    Now, with that out of the way, what has Amato done? His record? His bowl game wins against Kansas and South Florida? Come on? Some of you folks are so desperate for anything to crow about you’ll crow about anything. Our program needs an overhaul. By the end of this next season, you’ll all be onboard the Fire Chuck Amato express.

  8. redfred2 08/22/2006 at 1:37 PM #

    “The fact of the matter is we haven’t been improving. We’ve fallen off and now our standard for a successful season is to qualify for a bowl game. Ok, great, Kansas and UConn and UNLV have those same standards.”

    Football/basketball….and you’re talking about standards?

  9. BJD95 08/22/2006 at 1:38 PM #

    ^^ My thinking is that is at least one season premature. I want to give Trestman at least 3 years to see if the offense gets turned around. But recruiting is going to suffer even more if this season is a terrible one. Amato would be in very bad shape heading into 2007-08.

    It would be nice if Amato had earned some additional goodwill over the past 3 seasons to weather the storm of an awful 2006-07 (as I noted, i expect the occasional awful year – part of the life cycle in a tough league). But I don’t think he has, and the Gator Bowl boost is on fumes now.

  10. CarnifeX 08/22/2006 at 1:43 PM #

    Screw that, Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is Wolfpack Football. With the ever growing publicity getting into the young recruiting classes ears about NCSU being a place where a young man can grow his ability and become a NFL player, we will get our next Rivers, Mario and Holt (really we need a QB, been our problem since Rivers left), things will come around for the Lunatic Fringe and we can all be happily tanked at tailgates. (provided we can keep a freakin assistant coach or coordinator on the sideline for longer than a season).

  11. cfpack03 08/22/2006 at 1:53 PM #

    Some of you folks are so desperate for anything to crow about you’ll crow about anything.
    This is the exact opposite of how we were labeling regarding Sendek’s accomplishments. I don’t get it, are we never satisfied or too easily satisfied???

  12. packbackr04 08/22/2006 at 3:11 PM #

    not to start playing the wishing game, but BJD^^ if we have a down year this year, and Cowher comes to us looking for a job. do you still think it would be premature to let chest and co. go? I think Chuck better shit or get off the pot. and i am a chuck fan but if we get a go at cowher, its “see ya, wouldnt want to be ya”

    redfred, did you get the link on sids comments i posted concerning brack? Sid sounds desperate.

  13. WolfpackSteelerfan 08/22/2006 at 3:23 PM #

    It seems like the argument that I most heard against Sendek was that he had no signature wins or seasons during his tenure, particularly when considered against the backdrop of NC State’s basketball history.

    Well, Amato has had signature wins and one signature season. You can say that he’s underachieved with the talent of the last two seasons, but then you’d have to say that he overachieved with the lack of talent his first two seasons. I’m willing to give him at least one more year after this, to give Trestman that time to prove he’s for real or not.

  14. CarnifeX 08/22/2006 at 3:32 PM #

    CTC deserves more than one more year, and why all this Cowher talk? Is there any merit to his interest here? I know he has a house and his daughter enrolled here and blah, blah, blah. but is there any reason to think that he would actually want to take a step down and coach at NC State when he is currently the longest tenured coach in the NFL (and the Steelers would love to keep it that way)? Don’t get me wrong, open arms here, but lets be serious. I’d much rather chill on my millions in my 7,000s.f. house and make random appearances whenever I wanted at NCSU fball anything.

  15. cfpack03 08/22/2006 at 3:55 PM #

    Also, this is the final year of Cowher’s contract.

  16. johnny 08/22/2006 at 4:35 PM #

    After our BB seach, I hope CTC stays here for a long time. That being said, I am diappointed in the quality of our OC schedule, which I guess he feels in needs in order to get 6 wins. One thing that I can’t understand
    is why top DE and DT aren’t lining up outside CTC door. With 3 first round NFL picks last year’s draft, one would thiink top DL would be banging at CTC’s door.

  17. cfpack03 08/22/2006 at 4:41 PM #

    If there’s a year that needs a weaker OOC schedule, its this year.

  18. class of 74 08/22/2006 at 4:43 PM #

    The problem is as much (if not more) on Fowler’s shoulders as it is Amato’s.
    If we have a losing season it is Fowler’s job to put Amato on notice. The Gator Bowl should not get Amato a lifetime pass on avoiding the hot seat. The program has no excuses at this point. The facilities are first rate, Chuck has had plenty of time to establish himself and god knows we’ve given him the money for assistants, so as far as I’m concerned it’s time to put up or shut up.

    Do I think the program is better now than before Amato’s arrival? Yes, but it is not where it could be or where it should be given the resources at his disposal IMHO.

  19. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 08/22/2006 at 4:45 PM #

    If the team doesn’t look good on the field this year it will be Cowher’s job to turn down. If Cowher doesn’t want it you stick with Chuck at least until Fowler retires. Fowler should have already spoken with Cowher about his interest if things go bad this year. This way Lee can either say Chuck’s our coach and mean it or he will be free to say we will evaluate at the end of the year.

    The last thing we need is to be turned down in a national fiasco by Mac Brown of Texas and Tommy West at Memphis. Later have Lee Corso of ESPN decline the job on Game Day before ‘settling’ for Shane Montgomery.

  20. statered 08/22/2006 at 4:46 PM #

    Mods, please remove some of the assinine crap on this thread.

  21. packbackr04 08/22/2006 at 4:56 PM #

    HAHA, tcthdi^^ yes fowler should have already contacted cowher but what are the chances of that? none, nata, zilch. but if he had, noone should or does know about it, and it should stay that way because it would hurt chuck to know we were looking aournd behind his back.

  22. choppack1 08/22/2006 at 5:17 PM #

    Back to the topic at hand – “the hot seat.”

    I have a couple thoughts on this.
    1) This is more than a little unfair to State and Amato. It’s being trumpeted that Amato is on the hotseat, but there’s nary a peep about Bunting’s status – and I would think it would be every bit as tenious as Amato’s. I don’t think either can afford a 2-6 season. As a matter of fact, I’d go as far to say that Amato may be more likely to survive that than the Buntinator.

    What’s the net-net? Amato appears on SI as one of the 3 coaches on the hotseat and local columnists write about how Amato job status is shaky. High school kids, their parents and coaches read this and thnk Amato won’t be around for next year if things don’t go really well. The program is potrayed as one in limbo. OTOH, you wouldn’t get the same feeling about Bunting and his program. This helps their recruiting, hurts ours.

    2) We (the fans) need to accept some of the blame. I’m sorry, but the booing Amato endured on a national stage was embarassing and certainly feeds the dragon. I think the vast majority of State fans support Amato and think he can still be the guy – but we can’t afford to have another repeat of that Thursday night – regardless of our record or our performance on the field.

  23. WolfpackSteelerfan 08/22/2006 at 5:47 PM #

    Just to clarify, I also think Chuck deserves more than one more year. I meant that I’m willing to give him at least one more year after this upcoming season, regardless of the results this year. I think that he should be called on the penalties and turnovers. But, it certainly appeared that those were corrected midway through last season. Let’s see if the correction sticks.

  24. BobLee 08/22/2006 at 6:18 PM #

    Two little “what if” plays … and both coincidentally involve TA … goalline at OSU in ’03 … and. of course, goalline in Kenan in ’04. Reverse either outcome … REVERSE BOTH OUTCOMES ??? Did TA’s failure to punch it in either time mean CA is a bad coach? Rerun either play 5 times and he scores 3-4 of those times …. but thats not how it works in the silly world of sports.
    Trying to apply reasoning to an unreasonable issue is playing solitaire with 51 cards.
    As to who are your program’s “measuring sticks” … until you demonstrate annual mastery over UNC and WFU that is a moot point. CA has done neither. Yadda yadda all you want … it is SCOREBOARD.
    Neither UNC nor NCSU is so deep or skilled to automatically assume any level of assured success this season. It is quite likely that both programs will go into Nov 18 with 4-5 Ws and the winner will claim “at least we beat THEM” and earn some goofy bowl against another marginal opponent.
    That there is more “hot seat” talk about CA than JB is likely tied to JB’s two-game win streak over CA and the apparent FACT that Sanders and Cignetti are the two greatest coordinators in the history of college FB … or so some say!
    As for Cowher … right! … you get him and we’ll have “our people” talk to “Spurrier’s people” and we’ll have some mythical Fantasy Games … and maybe a Star Trek Convention at halftime.
    “… in the groin w/ a nail gun …” … gotta remember that one!

  25. Devon162 08/22/2006 at 7:06 PM #

    It doesn’t matter if Bunting is on the hotseat. Football is not as big a priority with UNC as it is with NCSU so any comparisons on that point are off-based.

    And for the record, choppack1, the fans are not to blame for having reasonable expectations of a much-hyped program in a stadium they just paid for. Your support for Chuck is fine but your reasoning is crazy. I’ll bet you wrote the same speech about Les Robinson a few years ago. It was crazy then and it’s crazy now.

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