O’Leary and Central Florida Take on Nevada in Hawaii Bowl
George O'Leary has directed one of the biggest turnarounds in college football, leading Central Florida (8-4) to its first postseason appearance on Saturday against Nevada (8-3) in the Hawaii Bowl.
This is redemption for Central Florida head coach George O'Leary, who was ousted as coach of Notre Dame in 2001 after admitting to falsifying his academic and athletic credentials on his resume. In his second season at UCF, the Golden Knights snapped what was the nation's longest Division I-A losing streak at 17 games. They went on to win eight of their next nine before losing to Tulsa 44-27 in the Conference-USA championship game in front of a record home crowd of 51,978.
Central Florida is trying to tie the 1940 Stanford team for the second-biggest one-season turnaround in NCAA football history. Hawaii's 1999 team has the record with an 8 1/2-game improvement over its 1998 record.
"The two things I have is perseverance and resiliency. Those are two key words with me," said O'Leary. He also has not mentioned the past.
"Never mentioned it. He was just about getting down to business," UCF defensive end Paul Carrington said. "It kind of sets an example of, you never dwell on the past."