Letter from the AD
Dear Knights Fans:
As the old cliché goes, time flies when you’re having fun. It’s hard for me to
believe I’ve been here almost a year. While it has been a very busy time, it
has also been extremely rewarding and enjoyable for me and my wife Karen,
as we have immersed ourselves in everything UCF.
I have enjoyed meeting with alums, supporters, faculty and staff, students, our
athletics staff and student-athletes to gain even more perspective on what
makes UCF a truly special place. The travel to all those meetings and events
has been extensive. I have driven 7,500 miles in just more than 100 days – and
I only have a 12,000-mile-a-year lease. But all those miles have been worth it.
Karen and I have truly enjoyed getting out and meeting those of you who came out to
the UKNIGHT Tour stops or a Share the Knight with President Hitt event during
I would like to share some of my observations I’ve made since arriving with you,
our most ardent supporters.
First of all, UCF is not the “sleeping giant” everyone talked about when I was
looking at this opportunity. During my first week on the job, our women’s track
and field team placed 8th at the NCAA Indoor Championships. That performance
set the tone for the rest of the spring, during which seven of our programs
advanced to postseason play.
Prior to my arrival, there were postseason appearances for both our soccer
programs, including a run to the Elite Eight for the women with victories over
Florida and North Carolina in the process. Men’s basketball put together its second
consecutive 20-plus win season. Women’s basketball has two C-USA Tournament
Championships under its belt. Should the Knights win their third C-USA football
title in 2012, UCF would be the only program in the history of the conference
to do so.
All this tells me UCF is no sleeping giant, this giant is fully awake. Our
story is one of accomplishment, not merely potential or promise.
Victories over schools which only have longer histories than ours should no
longer be viewed as upsets or anomalies in the natural order of college
athletics. UCF boasts a broad-based athletics program and is competing
successfully at the highest level.
In addition to athletic success, our student-athletes earned a department-wide
grade-point average of 3.0 or greater for a ninth consecutive semester. Our
young people also clocked more than 100,000 hours of community service in the
I believe intercollegiate athletics is the United States’ greatest leadership
development program outside of the military. Thanks to their participation in
athletics, we are able to push our student-athletes to become more than even
they think is possible. We can teach life lessons that will serve them
throughout their lives and develop them into this country’s future leaders. I
like to say there are two places in America still keeping score; one is
athletics and the other is real life.
My second observation is the reason our successes are more often viewed as
isolated accomplishments, as opposed to people seeing our program-wide success.
Simply put, the three letters on our uniforms are still unfamiliar to many
because we are relatively new. As the new kids on the block, not everyone has
gotten to know UCF yet. But that is about to change.
With our entrance into the BIG EAST Conference in July of 2013, we will have a
national platform to introduce UCF and our accomplishments to the rest of the
nation. Having spent the past nine years on the west coast, I had almost
forgotten the opportunity presented by access to the power of the northeast
media. It didn’t take long to recognize the potential we have for exposure when
I was in New York City during the Big East Basketball Tournament in Madison
Square Garden. With 25 million televisions in the Big East footprint, there
will be a lot of eyeballs on UCF in the future.
My third observation: There is only one degree of separation between UCF and
the people, businesses and community of Central Florida. I have yet to meet one
person in this region who does not have a direct tie to this institution.
There are more than 150,000 alums in the State of Florida. That is only the tip
of the iceberg. There are many others who are connected to UCF and affected by
the educational opportunities it provides and its economic impact on the state.
There are many UCF fans and alums out there who simply aren’t engaged. We
need them to flex their collective muscle, so that UCF can be fully recognized
for the impact of its alumni in the community. Athletics provides an opportunity
for UCF to tell its story. How that story is received by a national audience
can be affected by images of sold-out stadiums and arenas. It is very important
that our fans are present and enthusiastic in their support.
Finally, through my travels since arriving, it is apparent that we have
a very vibrant, passionate, young fan base. While most universities are trying
to figure out ways to engage their young alums, it is apparent this is not an
issue for UCF. These talented young people who are doing so many exciting
things and representing the UCF brand bodes extremely well for the future of
our institution. Meeting many of these people has, quite frankly, been very
But because we are unlike our older and more established brethren, our strength
and support must come from our numbers.
We have some unfinished business to take care of in C-USA this season,
while we prepare to take our place on a stage many of you have been looking
forward to for a long time. Thank you for your unbelievable support and
congratulations on the part you have played in getting the program to this
point in our history. Our 500-plus student-athletes couldn’t do it without you.
As we continue competing in the 2012-13 school year, it is important that you – our
“shareholders” – and I have a consistent dialogue. I look forward to developing
that relationship with you.
Vice President and Director of Athletics