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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. 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][12]

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 f "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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60 news items

The Times-Picayune - NOLA.com
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 15:21:50 -0700

Vinnie's father Sal Sunseri is a longtime college coach who's currently an assistant at Florida State. His brother Tino is in the Canadian Football League after playing quarterback in college at Pittsburgh. "That's what we're expecting from him," Ryan ...
Orlando Sentinel
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:33:45 -0700

FSU also has an experienced group of assistant coaches, including defensive end coach Sal Sunseri, who served as Tennessee's defensive coordinator in 2012. "We were a very tight-knit group last year, and I feel we're the same way this year," Kelly said.
The Times-Picayune
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 18:21:24 -0700

That's partly due to a rich family line -- his dad Sal Sunseri is a longtime defensive coach and his brother Tino is a quarterback for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. "I played linebacker all through high school ... and my dad was a linebackers coach, so ...
Canal Street Chronicles
Sat, 26 Jul 2014 10:01:04 -0700

Son of Sal Sunseri, who coached the Carolina Panthers' defense line for seven seasons and now coaches defensive ends at Florida State, Vinnie is no stranger to the requirements of being a top NFL player, including film study. And reportedly, his ...
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 13:03:45 -0700

His father, Sal Sunseri, was Alabama's assistant head coach and linebackers coach in the 2009 through 2011 seasons and heads into his 30th season of coaching as an assistant at Florida State. "Coming from Alabama, it's not the most simple defense," ...


Tallahassee Democrat (blog)
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:35:28 -0700

The trio of Odell Haggins (associate head coach/defensive tackles), Sal Sunseri (defensive ends) and Bill Miller (linebackers) have a combined 87 years of coaching experience and five national titles. "You think about Odell Haggins and how many ...
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 16:37:30 -0700

Tricket, a former West Virginia Mountaineers' assistant, nominated Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, Mountaineers' head coach Dana Holgerson and Seminoles' assistant Sal Sunseri. Sanders nominated two Seminoles' assistants, wide ...

Florida Times-Union

Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:50:02 -0700

The Democrat obtained all of the most recent contracts for the Seminoles' nine assistant coaches. Defensive ends coach Sal Sunseri is the only returning assistant coach that did not receive a new contract following FSU's national championship last season.

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