Strong Knight

Sources not associated with the UCF program have told InsideKnights.com / Scout.com that UCF head football coach George O'Leary will be dismissed by as early as Friday, and the Knights are in discussions with University of Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong about their soon to be head coaching vacancy.

Strong has been with the Gators since the 2003 season, and was one of the only coaches retained when the school decided to part ways with Ron Zook in the 2004 season. Strong was technically the second African-American head coach in SEC history as he served as the Gators interim coach in the 2004 Peach Bowl, which resulted in a 27-10 loss to the Miami Hurricanes.

Strong attended the University of Central Arkansas from 1980-1983, then served as a graduate assistant at Florida in 1983. He later served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 1985. His first full-time coaching job was at Southern Illinois in 1986, where he coached wide receivers. He later assumed defensive coaching duties at Florida and Notre Dame. Strong's first big break came as defensive coordinator at the University of South Carolina, making him the first African-American coordinator in SEC history.

If Strong and the Knights eventually come to an agreement, UCF will have a dynamic recruiter and one of the best defensive minds in the country, as Strong's Gators currently have the ninth-ranked defense in the nation and the fifth-best scoring defense in the country despite playing in the ultra-competitive SEC.

Strong is widely regarded as a recruiting expert, plucking no fewer than 15 current Gators out of the Central Florida area. With his contacts all over the southeast and some of the finest facilities in the nation, Strong could take the Knights football program to previously unseen heights. At the very least, Strong will add credibility to a program who is trying to recover from scandal stemming from the Ereck Plancher tragedy and the latest incident involving freshman running back Brandon Davis.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of InsideKnights from Scout.com and covers multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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