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UCF turns to George O’Leary as interim AD

With Todd Stansbury accepting the same position at Oregon State, UCF is in need of a new athletic director. As it turns out, and at least temporarily, the university didn’t have to look outside the building -- the football building, that is.

Following up on speculation that had been growing throughout the morning, UCF announced that head football coach George O’Leary has been named as the department’s interim athletic director. According to the school’s release, O’Leary will serve as interim AD through the remainder of 2015 (Stansbury’s move to Corvallis is effective Aug.1); in January of 2016, a decision will be made as to whether to make O’Leary the permanent AD or conduct a search for a permanent successor.

O’Leary will officially add AD responsibilities July 11.

“George’s leadership and knowledge of athletics - which includes programs beyond football - will keep UCF moving forward academically, competitively and in the community,” UCF president John C. Hitt said in a statement. “His national connections will also help us continue building the Knights’ reputation around the country.”

O’Leary’s first head-coaching job at the collegiate level came at Georgia Tech from 1995-2001. After the infamous Notre Dame résumé flap, O’Leary spent a couple of years as an NFL assistant before taking over the Knights in 2004.

After an 0-11 first season, O’Leary has guided UCF to an 81-49 mark the last 10 years. The Knights have won four conference titles in that span -- two in Conference USA, back-to-back AAC championships in 2013 and 2014 -- and appeared in the football program’s first-ever BCS game following the 2013 season, a 52-42 win over Baylor.

Prior to O’Leary’s arrival, the Knights hadn’t played in a bowl game since their ascension to the FBS level in 1996; during O’Leary’s 11 years, the Knights have played in seven bowl games.

“First of all, I appreciate President Hitt’s trusting me with this interim job. I love UCF and want to help us get better across the board,” O’Leary said. “I have a great interest in the total package as far as UCF is concerned. ...

“There are two important things you need to do in this job. You have to win so that UCF has the opportunity to become a top national program. And you have to bring in good kids and, hopefully, help make them great young men and women when they graduate.”