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UCF head coach George O'Leary to retire


Update: O'Leary has made his retirement official. Here is O'Leary's statement in full:

"In recent weeks there has been much speculation about the head coaching position at UCF and my future plans. Hopefully this statement clarifies the facts.

"After the 2013 championship season and Fiesta Bowl win I expressed my intention to retire at that time. After significant discussion with the UCF administration, I reconsidered and agreed to coach two additional seasons, 2014 and 2015. The administration has always been aware of my plan to retire after this season.

"2014 was a rewarding season which culminated in our second consecutive AAC championship and third conference championship in five seasons. 2015, however, has been a disappointment to me and many despite the hard work of our coaches and players. Many of the players are young but gaining valuable playing experience due to injuries and graduation. I am sure this will benefit them next season.

"In an effort to allow UCF to accelerate its search for my successor and clarify the facts regarding my future plans, I am retiring effective immediately.

"I appreciate the opportunity afforded me by John Hitt and Steve Orsini to come to UCF to build a program and the fine facilities we now have here. I am especially proud of our four conference championships and two additional championship appearances in the last 10 years along with seven bowl appearances and 31 wins in the three previous seasons.

"I again want to thank my coaches, players and loyal supporters for their efforts on this journey from the MAC to the AAC. Godspeed and go Knights."

Additionally, the Orlando Sentinel reports offensive coordinator Brent Key is due a $700,000 payment (paid over 24 months) because he will not be the Knights' next head coach. The school will hire a new athletics director before hiring a new head coach, the paper reports.

A 12-year run for George O'Leary at Central Florida is coming to an end, according to news first reported by the Orlando Sentinel.

O'Leary and the Knights had started this season at 0-8, with bad losses to FIU and Furman included in that skid, and that prompted the longest tenured coach in the American Athletic Conference to decide to retire, effective immediately.

O'Leary compiled an impressive 81-68 record with the program, with the crowning achievement of his tenure an upset of #5 Baylor in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl. He took over the program in 2004, and went 0-11 in that first season before making a big jump to 8-5 in year two. The years that followed saw the program post a total of seven seasons with 8 or more wins, peaking with a 12-win season in 2013.

During a coaching career that dates back to 1968, O'Leary led two major college programs (both of which for eight years or more), spending the 1994-2001 seasons at Georgia Tech, where he went 52-33 in eight seasons, with two bowl victories.

You may remember that O'Leary stepped down from his position of interim athletic director back on October 12th, to "refocus on his duties as head coach". In the two games that followed, UCF faced two undefeated teams (Temple and Houston) and were outscored 89-26.

According to the report from the Orlando Sentinel, quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett will be named interim head coach for the program moving forward.

Once the news is made official, the opening will mark the sixth FBS opening heading the offseason, joining Illinois, North Texas, USC, South Carolina, and Maryland.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.