"When I left here 20 years ago, my goal was to someday come back, and I appreciate this opportunity," Amato said.
Amato became emotional while talking, and warned the public he would remain emotional.
"My wife said, 'Chuck, this is a reminder that you and Susan Lucci have something in common,'" Amato said. "It took her 16 years to win an Oscar. It took me 20 years to win my Oscar, the head football coach at this school."
The Fieldhouse at Carter-Finley stadium was packed for the announcement.
The Florida State assistant head coach replaces former Wolfpack coachMike O'Cain, who was relieved of his duties following a 6-6 campaign this season.
After O'Cain's firing, Les Robinson told the media that the new head coach would be someone who could generate interest in N.C. State football and bring in the masses. Forty-three days later, Robinson announced that Amato is that man.
"He knows the game, but a lot of coaches know the game, and I think his added value is his attitude, personality and his enthusiasm," Robinson said. "That is something that you cannot learn."
"I think the thing people are going to be asking in two, three or four years is, 'Man, why was he not a head coach sooner,'" Robinson said.
Amato helped lead Florida State to an undefeated year and a national championship, after the team beat Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl Tuesday night.
Amato has been Florida State's assistant head coach since 1982, working with the defensive line and linebackers.
Before that, he was the defensive coordinator at the University of Arizona from 1980-82.
From 1971-80, Amato was an assistant defensive coach at N.C. State, working with Lou Holtz, Bo Rein and Monte Kiffin. While a student at the school, he played football as a linebacker for Earl Edwards, and he also wrestled for State from 1965-67, a two-time ACC champion.
Amato is the second former State player to get the head coaching job. -->The position is Amato's first job as a head football coach. His base salary will be $185,000, not including endorsements, radio and TV. andJulie Moos
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