George O’Leary has expressed a desire to step down as head coach after the 2015 season and become Central Florida’s full-time athletics director, according to a report from Dan Wolken of USA Today.
O’Leary stepped in as the Knights’ interim AD in July after then-AD Todd Stansbury, who took a similar post at Oregon State.
O’Leary has successfully shepherded UCF into big-time college football, leading the Knights from the MAC to Conference USA and then to the American Athletic Conference. The Knights have won a conference or division championship in four of the past five seasons, including a 12-1, Top 10 finish in 2013, including a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor, and an AAC co-championship in 2014. Entering his 12th year at the school, O’Leary is 81-60 as head coach.
Rumors of O’Leary’s impending retirement from coaching have persisted for more than a year. Fox Sports reported last August O’Leary was considering stepping down after the Knights’ opener against Penn State in Ireland. That, of course, did not happen.
But while O’Leary’s credentials as a coach are not in doubt, some within the athletics department have expressed dismay at the possibility of him leading the athletics department full time, Wolken reports. O’Leary, 69, has no administrative experience outside his now two months leading the UCF athletics department on an interim basis. Wolken reports UCF president John Hitt is on board with the idea, but the rank-and-file members of the administration remain on the fence.
“No one (on ground level) tracking with the president on this,” a source told USA Today.
If O’Leary’s transition does receive a green light, look for him to
push for anoint offensive coordinator Brent Key as his successor.
Nice scoop. GOL trying to find a way to get Brent Key to HC. https://t.co/pztJvRhJKf
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) September 1, 2015
Central Florida opens the 2015 season Thursday night versus Florida International (6 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network).