TALLAHASSEE, Fla – Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher continued to fill in his staff Thursday when he announced the hiring of veteran defensive coach Sal Sunseri. Sunseri has a long history of success coaching in the SEC and the NFL over the course of a 28-year span. He has been a defensive coordinator, assistant head coach at Alabama for Nick Saban and a seven-year defensive line coach for the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. Sunseri will join Fisher’s staff in time to coach in the 2013 Discover Orange Bowl.
"He'll be our defensive ends coach,” said Fisher when asked about the Sunseri hire. “Another great recruiter. Another great guy that's coached in the NFL, coached tons of first-round picks at linebacker and defensive end. A lot of knowledge. He and I have been together for a long time. He and I have known each other for a long time. He used to send his son to my camp. I used to coach his son in camp for many years and got to develop him early -- Tino. And we coached together at LSU during those times. We have been friends for a long time. He brings a lot to the table. And that's another guy in the system who also knows that system. So you've got a front-end guy to help bridge that gap."
Sunseri joins Florida State after serving as the defensive coordinator at Tennessee in 2012. With the Vols, Sunseri coached two of the nation’s top defensive players. Linebacker A.J. Johnson was fourth in the nation and led the SEC averaging 11.5 tackles per game. Cornerback Byron Moore was tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions and he led the Southeastern Conference in that category.
Prior to Tennessee, he spent three years as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Alabama under Saban, including the 2009 and 2011 national championship teams. He also spent seven years (2002-08) with the Carolina Panthers under then-head coach and current Denver Broncos coach John Fox, a tenure that included the franchise's lone NFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance.
A former All-American linebacker at Pittsburgh, Sunseri joined the Alabama staff in January of 2009 after serving as the defensive line coach with the NFL's Carolina Panthers. As a member of the Crimson Tide staff, he held the title of assistant head coach for defense and coached the outside linebackers.
Sunseri is married to the former Roxann Evans, who was a varsity gymnast at Pittsburgh. The couple has two daughters, Jaclyn and Ashlyn, and two sons, Santino (a quarterback at Pittsburgh) and Vinnie (a defensive back at Alabama).