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Sal Sunseri
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1959-08-01) August 1, 1959 (age 55)
Playing career
1978–1981 Pittsburgh
Position(s) Linebacker
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
Overall 0–1
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[edit]

Sunseri attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he played for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team from 1978 to 1981.[1] After beginning his career as a walk-on,[2] Sunseri 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][3] and was given an injury settlement and released from the team.

Coaching career[edit]

Between 1985 and 1992, Sunseri worked as a defensive line and linebacker's coach for his alma mater, the University of Pittsburgh.[4] After Paul Hackett was fired as the team's head coach during Pittsburgh's 1992 season,[5] Sunseri was promoted as an interim head coach for the final game versus Hawaiʻi[6]—a 36–23 loss for the Panthers.[7]

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.[8][9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

Personal life[edit]

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.[12] His younger son, Vinnie, plays safety for the New Orleans Saints.

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Pittsburgh Panthers (Big East Conference) (1992)
1992 Pittsburgh 0–1 0–0 6th
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. ^ a b c d e "Sal Sunseri". Carolina Panthers. Retrieved 2009-02-18. [dead link]
  2. ^ http://www.seminoles.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/sal_sunseri_834248.html
  3. ^ Tuma, Gary (1983-05-24). "Sunseri, Fedell shooting for comeback with Steelers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 10. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  4. ^ Emery, Michael (1985-10-19). "Coach Sal Sunseri hopes to bring winning ways back to Pitt". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 11. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  5. ^ Wolff, Alexander (1992-12-07). "Something For Nothing". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  6. ^ "Sunseri named interim coach at Pitt". Philadelphia Inquirer. 1992-11-28. p. C03. 
  7. ^ "Pittsburgh Game by Game Results: 1992". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  8. ^ 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]
  9. ^ Estes, Gentry (2009-01-21). "Alabama formally names Sal Sunseri and James Willis as new assistants". Mobile Press-Register (AL.com). Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Vols Name Sunseri Defensive Coordinator". UTSports.com. 2012-01-13. 
  11. ^ "Could Sal Sunseri join Florida State as a position coach?". Tomahawknation.com. Retrieved 2012-12-16. 
  12. ^ "Tino Sunseri". University of Pittsburgh Athletics. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sal_Sunseri — Please support Wikipedia.
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Sal Sunseri Media Session (4/11/12). Vols Defensive Coordinator meets with media after Practice No. 9.

2836 videos foundNext > 

751 news items

isportsweb.com (blog)

isportsweb.com (blog)
Fri, 12 Dec 2014 07:56:15 -0800

Sal Sunseri, Florida State DE coach – Sunseri is a giant longshot due to his failed one-year stint as Tennessee Volunteers defensive coordinator, which saw the Volunteers give up 471 yards a game in Derek Dooley's last year in Knoxville. Despite the ...

National Football Post

National Football Post
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 06:26:15 -0800

Sal Sunseri: He played with the Panthers from 1978-81 before moving onto a career as a defensive coach. The Florida State defensive ends coach has been around winning programs, but he has never been a head coach. Matt Campbell: The 35-year-old ...

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Wed, 17 Dec 2014 13:11:15 -0800

Do Tom Bradley or Sal Sunseri do anything for you as candidates? Sam Werner: Bradley, maybe. I sort of think that if Tom Bradley was ever going to be Pitt's head coach it would've happened by now (Pitt has certainly had plenty of chances to hire him).
Sat, 04 Jan 2014 22:11:25 -0800

"Going to Tennessee was interesting. You got up there and it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be just because it was going to be a lot of hard work," Sal Sunseri said. "Like anything else, when you go to a place with high expectations, you want to ...

National Football Post

National Football Post
Fri, 19 Dec 2014 06:26:15 -0800

Sal Sunseri: He played with the Panthers from 1978-81 before moving onto a career as a defensive coach. The Florida State defensive ends coach has been around winning programs, but he has never been a head coach. Matt Campbell: The 35-year-old ...
Sun, 14 Dec 2014 09:54:45 -0800

... Jay Graham and linebackers coach Bill Miller were spotted in the stands on Friday, while 247Sports reported wide receivers coach Lawrence Dawsey, recruiting coordinator Tim Brewster and defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri were in attendance Saturday.


Wed, 10 Dec 2014 07:23:56 -0800

FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri visited Sweat on Tuesday, sealing his commitment Wednesday morning. At 6-5, 240 pounds, Sweat will need to add a few pounds to play his position in college, but he has the athleticism and ...

The Territory.org (subscription)

The Territory.org (subscription)
Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:25:34 -0800

”I have the closest relationship with (defensive ends) coach (Sal) Sunseri,” Sweat said. “He's an excellent guy. He made me feel really comfortable about everything and I trust him and I feel like he's going to look out for me.” Sweat is excited about ...

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