May 25, 2006
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ORLANDO - George O'Leary, the 2005 Conference USA Coach of the Year, has signed a new 10-year contract to continue as coach of the UCF football program through 2015.
O'Leary, who is set to begin his third season at the helm of the Golden Knights program this fall, originally signed a five-year contract in December 2003 as UCF's eighth head football coach. The new contract includes a beginning annual salary of $1 million with incentives worth up to $500,000 a year.
The 59-year-old head coach engineered one of the top turnarounds in the history of college football last year. After a 0-11 season at UCF in 2004, O'Leary guided the Golden Knights to a historic season last year, when the team made its first bowl appearance in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
"Coach O'Leary has led our football team to new levels of excellence on the field and in the classroom,' UCF President John Hitt said. "This contract assures that he will complete his coaching career as a UCF Golden Knight. I could not be more pleased that it bears my signature."
O'Leary led UCF to the fourth-best turnaround in NCAA history this past season with a record of 8-5, including a 7-1 mark in Conference USA and the league's East Division Championship. The Golden Knights were just the sixth team in NCAA history to go to a bowl a year after going winless.
"I am very happy to sign on at UCF for the future years, and hopefully we can continue to grow both on the football field and academically in the classroom," O'Leary said.
In addition to being named Conference USA Coach of the Year, O'Leary was named National Coach of the Year by CBSSportsLine.com and SportsIllustrated.com in 2005.
"It is with great enthusiasm that we announce this new contract with our head football coach George O'Leary," said incoming UCF Director of Athletics Keith R. Tribble. "His commitment and dedication to UCF athletics is without question. Last season's momentous turnaround and accomplishment demonstrated to us why he is one of the top football coaches in the nation. We are excited to continue building our legacy with him."
O'Leary has reshaped the UCF football program in every facet - from improving academic performance to instilling team discipline on and off the football field.
Since O'Leary's arrival, UCF has posted its top two fall semester team grade point averages in the classroom. The Golden Knights set a new school Division I-A history record with a 2.78 team GPA in 2004, only to break that mark with a 2.808 team GPA in the fall of 2005.