American Football Database
Sal Sunseri
Biographical details
Born (1959-08-01) August 1, 1959 (age 62)
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Pittsburgh (DL/LB)
Iowa Wesleyan (AC)
Illinois State (DC)
Louisville (LB)
Alabama A&M (DC/LB)
Michigan State (LB/ST)
Carolina Panthers (DL)
Alabama (AHC/LB)
Tennessee (DC)
Florida State (DE)
Head coaching record
College Football Data Warehouse

Sal Sunseri (born August 1, 1959) is an American college and professional football coach. He is currently the defensive ends coach at Florida State. Sunseri played college football for the University of Pittsburgh, where he was an All-American linebacker.

Playing career

Sunseri attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team from 1978 to 1981.[1] He was a three-year starter and anchored a defense that led the NCAA in total defense in both 1980 and 1981.[1] During his senior year, he was named a team captain and a consensus first-team All-American.

After graduating he was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1982 NFL Draft; however, he suffered a career ending knee injury during training camp[1][2] and was given an injury settlement and released from the team.

Coaching career

Between 1985 and 1992, Sunseri worked as a defensive line and linebacker's coach for his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh.[3] After Paul Hackett was fired as the team's head coach during Pittsburgh's 1992 season,[4] Sunseri was promoted as an interim head coach for the final game versus Hawaiʻi[5]—a 36–23 loss for the Panthers.[6]

After having previously worked as the defensive line coach for the NFL's Carolina Panthers for six seasons,[1] Sunseri returned to college football on January 21, 2009, when he was named as the outside linebackers coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.[7][8] In January 2012, days after winning his second national championship with Alabama, Sunseri left to join Derek Dooley's staff at Tennessee as the defensive coordinator.[9] Under Sunseri Tennessee suffered its worst statistical defensive effort in school history.

In December 2012, Sunseri accepted a job as a defensive assistant at Florida State University.[10]

Personal life

Sunseri is married to Roxann Sunseri (née Evans), who is a former varsity gymnast at Pittsburgh.[1] The couple has two daughters and two sons. His son, Tino also plays football for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. His younger son, Vinnie, plays for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. He contributed as a true freshman on the 2011 BCS National Championship team as a reserve safety and on special teams.[1][11]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East Conference) (1992)
1992 Pittsburgh 0–1 0–0
Toledo: 0–1 0–0
Total: 0–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Sal Sunseri". Carolina Panthers. Retrieved 2009-02-18.[dead link]
  2. Tuma, Gary (1983-05-24). "Sunseri, Fedell shooting for comeback with Steelers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: p. 10.,5428193. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  3. Emery, Michael (1985-10-19). "Coach Sal Sunseri hopes to bring winning ways back to Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: p. 11.,5473483. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  4. Wolff, Alexander (1992-12-07). "Something For Nothing". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  5. "Sunseri named interim coach at Pitt". Philadelphia Inquirer: p. C03. 1992-11-28.
  6. "Pittsburgh Game by Game Results: 1992". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  7. Gantt, Darin (2009-01-20). "Panthers lose D-line coach Sunseri to Alabama". The Herald (Rock Hill, South Carolina). Retrieved 2009-02-18.[dead link]
  8. Estes, Gentry (2009-01-21). "Alabama formally names Sal Sunseri and James Willis as new assistants". Mobile Press-Register ( Retrieved 2009-02-18.
  9. "Vols Name Sunseri Defensive Coordinator". 2012-01-13.
  10. "Could Sal Sunseri join Florida State as a position coach?". Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  11. "Tino Sunseri". University of Pittsburgh Athletics. Retrieved 2009-02-18.

External links


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