UCF ties up O'Leary through 2015
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - The University of Central Florida extended football coach George O'Leary's contract through 2015 Thursday.In two years, O'Leary has helped transform UCF from one of the country's worst NCAA Division I-A programs to one of its most promising. The Golden Knights carried the nation's longest losing streak into last season, but ended up playing in the school's first conference championship and bowl games on the way to an 8-5 record.
The deal delivers $1 million in the first year, with gradual increases to $1.55 million in 2015 and $500,000 in possible incentives each season. It also includes a buyout capped at $5 million, or $1 million for each remaining year on the contract, if O'Leary or UCF breaks it.
"Believe me, we have a lot of work to do. Every dollar will be surely worked," O'Leary said.
O'Leary returned to college football at UCF in December 2003 after two years as defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings. He made national headlines in 2001 after resigning the head coaching job at Notre Dame when it was discovered parts of his resume, compiled long ago, had been falsified.
O'Leary was head coach at Georgia Tech from 1994 to 2001, amassing a 52-33 record and earning 2000's national coach of the year award. He was nominated for the award again after UCF's finish last season.
UCF president John Hitt and new athletic director Keith Tribble envisions the school as a perennial Top 10 team on par with the state's Big Three - Florida, Florida State and the University of Miami.
They and others acknowledge the school has a long way to go, but hope O'Leary's extension and a new 45,000-seat on-campus stadium opening in fall 2007 will help draw blue chip recruits and bigger Saturday crowds to make it happen.
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