Tales From The Moat: Farewell Coach O’Leary

There you go.

The torches and pitchforks finally worked; George O’Leary is no longer the head football coach at UCF.

So now what?

For the past month to 2 years I’ve dealt with the growing number of UCF fans calling for O’Leary’s head day in and day out with little to no reason, or end game.  This year the reason presented itself in a pretty obvious fashion.

0-8.

The end game?  That one’s a bit more difficult for a lot of the “fire O’Leary” crowd that’s been around for quite some time.  The majority of these people only have a statement, but no answer.  They want a younger more energetic coach.  They want a bigger name.  Oh, and they want to recruit better in Orlando.

All of these things sound amazing and if that’s doable, then congratulations…you have your guy.  The issue is, most of the people making this statement don’t have a name.  Well, not a realistic name.  I remind you, I said most not all.  Some of you have always had legitimate reasons why GOL should go, and had options to go with it.

The good news?

George O’Leary made this job desirable in many ways.  No it’s not Alabama, and maybe not even Miami, but UCF wasn’t attracting many candidates before GOL…they can now.

The bad news?

South Carolina, Southern Cal and Miami are already in the coaching hunt and eyeing some names UCF fans seem to want…a few in the AAC. This however doesn’t mean that UCF can’t find a good replacement for GOL…it just means that they typical huge name request from a lot of fans may be an even longer shot than it already was.

In the end though, I’m not worried about who UCF hires next…not right now.  Right now I want to pay homage to a man that took UCF to unthinkable heights and make the Knights a team worthy of national attention…and Power-5 consideration.

George O’Leary.

Sure when he came here it was off of the debacle at Notre Dame.  Then he went 0-11 in his first season.  So needless to say things didn’t begin very well.  After that everything seemed to change.

O’Leary’s tenure at UCF brought an on-campus stadium, four Conference Championships between C-USA and the AAC, seven bowls including one BCS bowl win and Top-25 finishes in 2010 and 2013…and that doesn’t even account for the numerous players in the NFL today including the 3rd overall draft pick Blake Bortles.  GOL’s tenure at UCF also proved to be one of the most academically successful programs year in and year out and was very rarely hit with off-the-field drama.

As the host of my former show, Mike Bianchi, wrote…O’Leary didn’t just put UCF on the map, he drew it.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

So today, I end this piece with a simple message to Coach O’Leary.

Coach, it’s been an honor to cover you and your program for the first handful of years of my media career.  I never wanted to see it end like this, but even though I’m still fairly new to the Knights’ fan base I must say thank you and congratulations on a stellar career.

Charge on.

-Ditti

Any and all feedback welcomed!  Get me on Twitter (@ditti33) or via e-mail at ditti@969thegame.com!

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