This is an interesting time for UCF athletics, which is why the most important man in the department signing a contract extension on Wednesday afternoon came as a welcome sight.
Yes, Scott Frost is having major success with UCF Football. Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak continued to build UCF Women’s Soccer into a top-10 program. Johnny Dawkins is off to a great start with UCF Men’s Basketball. Katie Abrahamson-Henderson revived the UCF Women’s Basketball program last year. Greg Lovelady took UCF Baseball to another level in the spring. But even with all of that, athletics director Danny White is the one individual that UCF cannot afford to lose.
Since his arrival in 2015, White has transformed the athletic department in a huge way. He has hired Frost, Dawkins, Abrahamson-Henderson, Lovelady and a few other coaches. Every new hire saw considerable success in year one. When White got to Orlando, UCF athletics was full of weak links. Fast forward to present day, and you would be hard-pressed to find a UCF program that can be considered a weak link.
The rapid rise has been impressive. White’s moves have gotten eyes all around the country on UCF. Not only have his hires been successful, but he is also raising money for the program at a huge rate. Plans for an athletics village and a new athletics center are set. The Rise and Conquer Initiative is underway and the recently-created UCF Football Excellence Fund is currently a success. There have been, or will be, renovations at Spectrum Stadium, CFE Arena and John Euliano Park. Academically, the Knights are continuing to have a ton of success, once again posting the best graduation success rate of public NCAA FBS schools.
Simply put, White is doing it all. That’s why the powers-that-be can feel comfortable about his ability to continue building up UCF athletics. He rebuilt the department between 2015 and now, so if he needs to do so again, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he can get the job done.
At a time when other programs are hoping to land Frost for their open football coaching positions, White feels like a calming presence. He has stated that he believes Frost wants to and will stick around, which is encouraging. But at the same time, if Frost does leave, who better than White to make yet another good hire? Frost may not be the last highly-coveted UCF coach. “Bigger” programs will always be around like an opportunistic bully, wanting to snatch up a coach as soon as he or she has any hint of success.
Regardless of coaching turnover, UCF should feel good about what it has in White. Coaches will come and go. There’s likely no getting around it. But if the school can manage to keep White around, there should be no doubt that he will continuously take his department to new heights.
As surely as the original Dos Equis man is the real “most interesting man in the world,” Danny White really is the most important man in UCF athletics.