ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 8 - George O’Leary is returning to college football as the coach at Central Florida. Forced to resign at Notre Dame two years ago because he falsified his resume, O’Leary will be introduced at a news conference later Monday, UCF spokesman John Marini said.
InsertArt(2088217)O’LEARY HAS BEEN defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings the past two seasons.
Central Florida fired coach Mike Kruczek late in the season, and he was replaced on an interim basis by Alan Gooch on Nov. 10.
O’Leary, the former Georgia Tech coach, wasn’t out of work long after his brief stay at Notre Dame. After leaving in mid-December 2001 - just five days into the job - O’Leary was hired by the Vikings less than a month later.
At Georgia Tech, O’Leary had a 52-33 record from 1994-2001.
UCF athletic director Steve Orsini was Georgia Tech’s senior associate athletic director during O’Leary’s tenure there.
It wasn’t known whether O’Leary would finish the season with Minnesota or depart immediately for UCF.
O’Leary was flying to Florida on Monday and his agent couldn’t immediately be reached. The Vikings would not comment.
O’Leary is a taking over a UCF program battered by losses on the field and discipline problems off the field.
Although the Golden Knights were expected to contend in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division, their 3-9 record was their worst since 1984. Coincidentally, that was the last year the program lost a coach during the season.
In addition, the Knights had eight players, including four starters, suspended this season for various infractions.
Two published reports said O’Leary’s five-year contract was worth about $700,000 annually.
That financial package would be far more than what UCF has paid in the past to its football coach. Kruczek was making $185,000 a year.
Marini said he did not know the details of O’Leary’s contract.
UCF has been competing at the Division I-A level for eight years, and the 2002 season was its first as a member of a conference after 23 as an independent.
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