George O'Leary

Entering his 12th season as Central Florida’s head coach, George O’Leary is the most successful and most important coach in the Knights’ short football history. That gives him, in his mind, a sort of patriarchy over the program. He’s also the interim athletics director, providing him nominal authority as well.

And speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, O’Leary pressed his authority to again promote Brent Key as his successor.

“If you look at my history,” O’Leary told the paper, “I’ve always tried to promote from within if I can. That would be my goal. People have to be in place to take the job, and I think we have that. … You don’t fix what’s not broken.”

Key has spent the past decade as a member of O’Leary’s staff, first as a graduate assistant, then tight ends coach, then adding recruiting coordinator and special teams coordinator titles in successive years. He moved to offensive line coach in 2009, added an assistant head coach title in 2012, and was promoted to offensive coordinator/running backs coach following Charlie Taaffe’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

“Every staff has people you feel could run the program, and I think Brent is the one on our staff who has been around me the longest and has an idea of the culture and philosophy. I would expect he would be given very, very, very strong consideration whenever I do retire.”