Former N.C. State coach Chuck Amato has applied to be the Charlotte 49ers first head football coach.
"I'd love to be the guy there, it would be a real neat thing to do," said Amato, who took the Wolfpack to five bowl games in seven seasons and had a 49-37 record. . "The opportunity to do something from scratch, to put everything in place.That would be a different mountain to climb."
Amato, 64, was fired at N.C. State after the 2007 season, then returned for two seasons to Florida State (where he had been an assistant before) as the Seminoles' executive associate head coach. He wasn't retained on the Seminoles' staff when coach Bobby Bowden retired after the 2009 season.
Amato said he hasn't been interviewed for the job yet and hasn't heard from 49ers athletics officials. Charlotte athletics director Judy Rose has said she won't comment on the football coaching job search until a hire has been made.
But Amato has talked to Rose about the job. While visiting Charlotte last August to watch the Carolina Panthers practice, he dropped in unannounced to speak with Rose.
"They've really done their homework on (football)," said Amato. "It looks like a great situation"
Amato, who has homes in Raleigh and Tallahassee, Fla., was diagnosed with throat cancer in early 2010. He said he's "clean" of the disease now after treatment. He said he served as a consultant last summer for the Canadian Football League's Montreal Allouettes.
The 49ers have received at least 100 applications for the job (which pays $175,000 per year), but they're culling the tightly held list to about 20 realistic candidates. Rose has said she would like to have a coach hired by April 1.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Grambling State coach Rod Broadway -- a former Duke assistant and N.C. Central head coach -- might have interest, although Grambling athletics director Lin Dawson said in an email that Charlotte hasn't requested permission to talk with him.
Two other former ACC coaches have told The Observer they're not interested in the 49ers job. Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said he hadn't heard from Charlotte and had not applied. Former North Carolina coach John Bunting said he is not interested in the job.