Central Florida Knights head football coach George O’Leary would like to step down from his coaching duties at the end of this season and then become the university’s full-time athletic director, thus removing the “interim” status from his title as such. USA Today’s Dan Wolken reported O’Leary’s desire.
O’Leary was named interim AD in June after Todd Stansbury departed for Oregon State, and would like to become a full-time administrator as he is set to turn 70 next year. However, though UCF higher-ups are mulling the possibility of granting O’Leary’s request, Wolken reports that there are concerns.
However, there is significant concern among others at UCF about whether the 69-year old O’Leary, who has no prior experience in athletic administration and has been coaching in either college or the NFL since 1980, is up to the job, particularly with [former AD Todd] Stansbury and a handful of other senior-level staff members departing in recent weeks, leaving the department short-handed and somewhat in disarray.
“No one (on ground level is) tracking with the president on this,” one person said.
This would potentially be a bad time for UCF to have its athletic department in chaos, particularly if the Big 12 decides to expand. Because of its location and large alumni base, UCF is part of a group of teams that constantly comes up in conference realignment speculation.
Those are certainly legitimate concerns, as some would argue that being a major university’s athletic director is even more of a high stress job than being the head football coach at such a school. Moreover, though O’Leary would likely name his offensive coordinator, Brent Key, as his successor, his own success with the program cannot be ignored. Since arriving in Orlando in 2004 and going winless in his first season, O’Leary has turned UCF into regular conference contenders, having won four conference titles in his tenure, two in Conference USA and two in the AAC. At UCF, he is 81-60.
But it’s clear that O’Leary is ready to step away from the field and take an administrative job, and he feels he is up to the task. After all, he wouldn’t have been named interim AD if school officials did not think he was capable of undertaking said duties.
Just the same, UCF will think long and hard before naming its next AD, be it O’Leary or someone else.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports