George O'Leary was a stunnning hire for UCF in December 2003. At the time, he was the Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator, and it was believed that he never would coach in college again. Two years earlier he had resigned from his dream job as Notre Dame's head coach when it was discovered he had inaccuracies on his resume. But then-Athletic Director Steve Orsini convinced school president John Hitt and then-trustees board chairman Dick Nunis that O'Leary's no-nonsense approach to school-work and football would serve the Knights well. In five seasons under O'Leary, UCF has experienced program-record highs and lows: 2 bowl appearances, 1 conference championship, soaring graduation rates and also an 0-11 season, a 17-game losing streak, the death of one player following an off-season workout and the collapse of another. UCF is 26-36 under O'Leary.
Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel