Who else would know more about climbing over the rest of the pretenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference and taking a shot at Florida State than Chuck Amato?
That's an argument that Amato, Bobby Bowden's right-hand man with the Seminoles, could make if Maryland wants to interview him for its head coaching position in football, which came open when Mark Duffner was fired Monday.
Amato is among those college assistant coaches who are expected to be interviewed by Maryland.
The university doesn't figure to name a successor to Duffner until the second week of December. Athletic director Debbie Yow hinted at that timetable yesterday, when she said, "We will most likely have some interviews on campus late next week."
Amato is one of the candidates who couldn't drop what he's doing and come to College Park this week. No. 2 Florida State plays No. 1 Florida in Tallahassee on Saturday, and Amato is busy preparing his linebackers for Gators quarterback Danny Wuerffel and company.
"I'm not even going to discuss it [Maryland]," Amato told the Orlando Sentinel, "but I hope they do show some interest."
Amato is in his 15th season at Florida State, and his 11th as the assistant head coach to Bowden. He recruits Miami and the Northeast, and was at the center of the late push that steered quarterback Dan Kendra, USA Today's Offensive Player of the Year in 1994, from Penn State to Florida State.
"He's an outstanding coach, been here quite awhile," Bowden said. "He's a great prospect. Several of our coaches are, in my opinion."
A native of Pennsylvania, Amato lettered in football and wrestling at North Carolina State in the late 1960s. He also has coached at Arizona and N.C. State. Among the Seminoles, his physique got him the nickname "Coach Chest."
Amato is one of three assistants from high-powered programs who could get interviews, the others being longtime Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky and Ohio State quarterback coach Walt Harris.
There's considerable booster backing for Ralph Friedgen, the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator who played for Maryland and assisted Bobby Ross with the Terps and Georgia Tech before following him to the NFL.
Maryland also is being told to consider John Mackovic by some in the ACC. He signed a five-year contract at the beginning of this season, but the Longhorns are 6-4 heading into their regular-season finale against Texas A&M;, and some boosters will be unhappy if he doesn't win that game and play in the inaugural Big 12 title game.
There also is politicking for Virginia Tech assistant head coach Billy Hite to get an interview. Hite, who played at DeMatha High and North Carolina, was the Hokies' acting head coach in 1989, when Frank Beamer underwent heart surgery.
Pub Date: 11/28/96