ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The way his father tells it, Danny White has been keeping tabs on UCF for a while.
Kevin White said it wasn’t long after his son had concluded his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame and was just starting out in athletics administration that he first mentioned the potential he saw in the central Florida school.
”He’s always had his eye on this place,” the elder White said.
Now he will have his chance to lead it.
Danny White was introduced Thursday as UCF’s new athletic director, taking over a program in transition after one of the most successful runs in its history.
The 36-year-old said he was lured away from the same job at Buffalo because of UCF’s potential and ”the prospect of building something.”
”This is an institution that is going places quickly,” White said.
He won’t officially begin his new post until January, but said he has already begun the search to replace former football coach George O’Leary, who announced his retirement on Oct. 25 following a 0-8 start.
White said he is scheduled to fly to Atlanta Friday to meet with search consultants, who are vetting candidates. He expects the search to go quickly.
”There’s work being done as I sit here,” White said. ”We realize how important that is and how critical the timing of it is to establish a new leader to point us in the right direction, and continue to build on the foundation that’s been laid and all the success that’s occurred here in the sport of football.”
During White’s tenure at Buffalo he helped lead major improvements to its facilities, including an upgraded football center in 2013 and a face-lift to the basketball facilities for the men’s and women’s teams.
Before Buffalo, White was an associate athletic director at Mississippi from 2009 to 2012 and held a similar role at Fresno State from 2007 to 2009.
Kevin White currently serves as Duke’s athletic director, and said all of his three sons have a similar drive among them. Danny’s brother Michael White enters his first season as men’s basketball coach at Florida; Brian White is the senior associate athletic director for development at Missouri.
”For whatever reason our family never approached this as an occupation. It’s always an avocation, and it became a way of life,” Kevin White said. ”I think that’s what kind of drew our kids into this business…They grew up on those college campus and somehow they got the virus. And here we are.”
President John Hitt already had a relationship with Kevin White, and recalled first shaking Danny’s hand as a child.
”In my opinion, at least, we have found a true rising star among our nation’s ADs,” Hitt said.
White said he will serve judgment on setting any long term agenda items until he begins work, but said he plans to be aggressive in development, fund raising and soliciting donor support – three things he was known for in his previous stops at Ole Miss and Fresno State.
He said he’s looking forward to getting started.
”As much as I say I’m excited, there’s no time for celebration right now,” he said. ”We’ve got to hit the ground running, and get to work. And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do.”
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