And it didn't take long for the shenanigans to begin. With Wolfpack Sports Marketing TV host and former WTVD-11 (Durham - ABC) sportscaster Don Shea serving as emcee and directing the questioning, the gala got underway after an invocation by former N.C. State and Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Evans and opening acknowledgements of participating boosters by Dooley.
Shea, who didn't mind stirring the pot, asked about the potential of instant replay in the ACC.
"We're seven games too late (laughter)," Amato said, referring to last year's dramatic State/UNC game.
"It's over," replied Bunting," It's in the books."
"What are you talking about, do you have a guilty conscience? (laughter) said Amato. "But you know John, they are allowing us retroactively for one year to pick one game to change (laughter)."
On instant replay:
Amato: "I think it's been long awaited for. We've probably got the best system in place, but anything that can help the game and get the right call, I don't think any team is against that."
"It's been successful in the NFL. We have camera angles and coaches that can call for instant replay. But I don't think that is the important part. In the four years that I've been here and talking to officials, many of them have been in favor of it all along. There are a lot of things that happen and you can get blocked out. And you still might not get every call right. But this gives us a better opportunity to get it right. I'm all for it. We'll have to exercise patience with it, but I think after all we'll be very happy we have it in place."
On this year's strengths and weaknesses:
"We might break underneath ‘100th' on defense this year. That would be really awesome wouldn't it?"
"If we can stay healthy… I think the ACC has gotten so good, the only difference between us and the teams that are real, real good right now is, I think our teams – one through 22 – are as good as most teams. When we can get 22 through 85, that's when we don't have to worry about injury.
"The concern for me is our offensive line. We don't have a lot of depth there and we haven't in the last year or so, and we had a lot of injuries that really hurt us. So the offensive line is a concern, and then, the kicking game – people sometimes forget about that. We've got to dominate the kicking game. And, we've got to get him the yardage. I promised our people when I took the job that I would move the football. I just didn't know which way I would move it – frontwards or backwards (laughter). And then my biggest concern is officiating (laughter)… ahem… wait, I didn't mean that. Would you strike that off the record, sir? ACC Director of Officiating Tommy [Hunt], I didn't see you there. No, we have the greatest officials in the country."
On playing for Coach Dooley:
Broadway: "As Coach Bunting said, I had the opportunity to play for the same coach as he did. At times, I thought he was an S.O.B. (laughter). But one of the things that Coach Dooley taught us and that I teach my football team is fundamentals. He was big on fundamentals and we try to get that across to our football team. Coach Dooley would ingrain that in your heads. So, thanks coach."
Amato: "Well, I guess I need to get on this bandwagon, too. I played against [Dooley's] ass (laughter). And if you recall, we scored a few more points… not many. But seriously, I didn't get a chance to play for this man. But being around him for the last four of five years, what he does for this community is unbelievable. He's been such a great father for the people that have come and played for him."
Listen to the complete audio from the Sheraton Imperial Hotel on Tuesday.