A day after his team fell to 0-8, UCF's George O'Leary has retired as head coach.
Reports from ESPN and the Orlando Sentinel emerged with the news on Sunday afternoon and the school confirmed O'Leary's decision in a press release later in the day. The school also announced that quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett will assume the role as interim head coach for the rest of the season.
In a statement, O'Leary, who first became the Knights' head coach in 2004, said he initially planned to retire from coaching after the Knights' Fiesta Bowl win in 2013, but agreed to stay on for two more seasons "after significant discussion with the UCF administration."
Here's 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.
Less than two seasons removed from a win in the Fiesta Bowl against Baylor, UCF has tumbled to the depths of college football. The team had a 10-7 lead early against Houston on Saturday and ended up losing 59-10.
Not only has UCF not played well in 2015, it has simply been overmatched. UCF has been outscored 267-120. It looks like there's no end in sight for the free beer at an Orlando establishment. With one more loss, UCF is set to have more losses than at any time in his tenure.
The news of O'Leary's retirement also comes shortly after discussion of his contract. He had refused to release the specifics of his deal – accessible because the university is a public one – after questioning from local media about a possible successor written into his contract.
O'Leary also resigned from his role as the school's interim athletic director two weeks ago.
O'Leary's career record at UCF is 81-68 and his overall record is 133-101. He previously coached at Georgia Tech from 1994-2001 and was briefly hired as Notre Dame's coach before the 2002 season. He resigned at Notre Dame shortly after he was hired after inaccuracies in his resume were discovered.
- - - - - - -