ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White recently signed a contract amendment that will keep him in his current position for the foreseeable future.
“I hired Danny two years ago because he understood that success starts with winning with integrity and student-athletes thriving in the classroom, and because he had a strong history of hiring successful coaches,” said UCF President John C. Hitt. “Danny has exceeded my expectations in all of those areas while also leading athletics to its best year of philanthropy ever. Along with our fans and student-athletes, I look forward to seeing what Danny and his talented colleagues will achieve this year.”
White began his tenure at UCF in December 2015. Since that time, he has overseen an athletics department that has accomplished a great deal.
“I’m honored to lead such a great athletic department and I look forward to doing so into the future,” White said. “We are committed to building a Top 25 intercollegiate athletics department at UCF. To be sure, I remain grateful to President Hitt for entrusting me with the leadership of this department. We couldn’t be more proud of what our amazing student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters have accomplished over a fast and furious first 20 months, and I know we’ll continue to build on that success.”
In competition, based on number of postseason appearances 2016-17 was the most successful year in UCF’s NCAA Division I history. In all, 11 of UCF’s 16 programs made postseason appearances in 2016-17.
The UCF football team went from winless in 2015 to a six-win campaign and a bowl game appearance under head coach Scott Frost. The men’s basketball team improved by a dozen victories, winning 24 games and advancing to the NIT Final Four under head coach Johnny Dawkins. The women’s basketball team advanced to the WNIT and improved by 14 victories under head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson. The men’s tennis team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005 under head coach John Roddick. The baseball team won the American Athletic Conference regular season title and played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 under head coach Greg Lovelady. White hired each of those coaches during his first seven months at UCF.
In addition to the success of UCF’s new coaches, the Knights also saw conference championships from Becky Cramer’s rowing squad and Emily Marron’s women’s golf team. Bryce Wallor’s men’s golf team won an NCAA Regional and finished No. 14 in the nation.
In addition to on-field success, the Knights have continued their high standards in the classroom under White’s leadership.
As an athletic department, Knight student-athletes have continued a streak of 19 straight semesters with a 3.0 grade-point average or better. More than 60 percent of the Knights posted a 3.0 GPA or better in the recently-completed spring semester, leading to a department-record 3.27 semester GPA.
UCF continues to excel in NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) measurements as well. As a department, UCF boasts a GSR of 94 percent, up one percentage point from last year. The Knights’ 2016 score of 93 percent was the best of any public NCAA FBS institution for a third straight year.
White has overseen transformational fund-raising success at UCF as well. During White’s tenure, UCF Athletics was the beneficiary of the largest cash pledge ever committed to the university by an individual alumnus and has seen more than $13 million committed toward UCF Athletics’ $25 million athletics village vision. Kenneth G. Dixon committed more than $5 million to establish the Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village. Tony and Sonja Nicholson recently donated $2 million to support the Athletics Village vision. John Euliano committed $1.5 million toward the renovation of the UCF Baseball Complex that will become John Euliano Park. Bob Garvy committed $1 million to establish the Garvy Center for Student-Athlete Nutrition.
UCF Athletics has recorded numerous other accomplishments during White’s tenure. He led the charge to complete The Knights’ Charge – UCF Athletics’ strategic plan. He was also behind many game-day experience improvements including new video boards and ribbon boards at both Spectrum Stadium and CFE Arena and the activation on IOA Plaza at home football games such as the Tailgate Concert Series and Knight Walk. Behind the scenes, White was responsible for the introduction of the Rise and Conquer Initiative, which will help UCF Athletics enhance funding for athletic scholarships and grow its operating budget through ticket sales, annual giving and corporate revenue. He also oversaw UCF Athletics transition to bringing its multimedia rights in house, creating an opportunity for enhanced revenue for the department.