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October 17, 2015: UCF Coach George O'Leary walks the sideline in the first half during the game between the UCF Knights and the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA

Central Florida to honor George O’Leary with statue

Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

The Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday that the University of Central Florida will honor former head football coach George O’Leary with a statue. O’Leary coached the Knights from 2004 through 2015, leading the program to seven bowl appearances in his 12 seasons at the helm.

The statue will be somewhere near Bright House Networks Stadium, which is the on-campus stadium O’Leary helped bring to the school back in 2007. It is expected to be unveiled sometime next year.

The 70-year-old went 81-60 at Central Florida and earned the American Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year Award in 2013. That season, the Knights went 12-1 (8-0 in conference) and capped off the campaign with a resounding 52-42 win over Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl behind current Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles.

O’Leary found success at UCF, but he certainly experienced some adversity during his coaching career as well. An investigation into his tenure with Georgia Tech found that O’Leary had used ineligible players and the school was subsequently placed on probation while forfeiting scholarships.

He was named as the head coach of Notre Dame in 2001, though he was forced to resign just a few days later after the school found inaccuracies in his résumé. From there, O’Leary served as the defensive line coach and defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings for two years before moving on to Central Florida in 2004.

He signed a four-year contract extension with UCF following the triumphant 2013 season, but resigned after the team got off to an 0-8 start in 2015.

Central Florida to honor George O’Leary with statue

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