Last Thursday afternoon, the UCF Knights football organization welcomed back John Skladany as its linebackers coach and special teams assistant.
Skladany, a 30-year veteran of college football coaching, served as UCF's defensive coordinator in 2007 when the Knights won the C-USA title and played in the Liberty Bowl. That team was a defensive giant, with five players on all-conference teams, ranked third in the nation in interceptions (24), and finished third in the conference in sacks (39).
Skladany will be replacing Geoff Collins, who left UCF to pursue other coaching opportunities. There's no worry that he will not be a fantastic replacement, however. During Skladany's tenure with the Houston Cougars, a UCF Conference USA opponent, they reached bowl games in each of the past two seasons and won C-USA's West Division this past season.
“I'm so thrilled to be back,” Skladany said in a press conference. “I get a chance to work with Coach O'Leary and a great group of players. I couldn't be more excited about it.”
Skladany will be working under current UCF defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable, who led the Knights to success in 2009. UCF ranked fourth in the nation overall in rush defense and led C-USA in almost every other major defensive category. Last week, Huxtable spoke at the American Football Coaches Association Convention, teaching fellow coaches about his defensive scheme.
Coach O'Leary said the familiarity with Skladany led him to make the choice to bring him back on to the Knights' staff. Skladany's aggressive style of coaching in the 2007 season made a big impression on UCF's head coach.
“I am very pleased to hire an experienced coach who has been involed in many defensive schemes,” O'Leary said.