Danny White was named Vice President and Director of Athletics at UCF on Nov. 18, 2015. He began his tenure at UCF Dec. 14, 2015.
Under his leadership, the Knights have seen great success in competition, in the classroom and in the community.
UCF's football program went from winless in 2015 to six victories and a bowl game appearance in 2016. The Knights improved even more in 2017, finishing the season as the only undefeated team in the nation and claiming a national championship. The Knights finished 13-0 in the 2017 season, capping the incredible year with a 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Both the UCF men's and women's basketball teams completed stunning turnarounds under head coaches White hired shortly after his arrival at UCF. Johnny Dawkins and Katie Abrahamson-Henderson both led their teams to 20-win seasons and the best American Athletic Conference finish in both programs' history. Abrahamson-Henderson followed that with another improvement in conference finish and the first-ever back-to-back postseason berths in program history. The UCF Baseball program also turned in a stellar 2017 season, winning the American Athletic Conference regular season title and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012 under another White hire – Greg Lovelady.
White was named one of Sports Business Journal's 40 Under 40 award winners in both 2017 and 2018. White was also recognized by the Orlando Business Journal on its 40 Under 40 list for the Central Florida area's top professionals under the age of 40 who have made significant achievements in their careers. He was also named to the 2017 50 Most Powerful People in Orlando by Orlando Magazine. In the Spring of 2018, White was named a finalist for the Sports Business Journal's Athletics Director of the Year honor.
White oversees an athletics department that has boasted a semester grade-point average of 3.0 or better since 2008. The Knights also boast the top NCAA Graduation Success Rate of any public university playing at the Football Bowl Subdivision.
In his first 15 months on the job, White saw numerous game-changing gift commitments made to UCF Athletics. In February of 2017, Ken Dixon committed more than $5 million to UCF Athletics. It was the largest cash pledge ever to UCF by an alumnus. In recognition of his gift, UCF has named the 95-acre area that houses most of UCF's Athletics Facilities the Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village. White was also instrumental in a $1.5 million gift commitment from John Euliano that will help fund a renovation of the UCF Baseball Complex, which will be known as John Euliano Park after its completion. Bob Garvy also committed $1 million toward the development of the Garvy Center for Student-Athlete Nutrition. The Knights also recently broke ground of the Roth Athletics Center, which will house the UCF administration and will include an expansion for football operations.
In addition, White established the UCF Football Excellence Fund in 2017. That initiative has raised more than $5 million in commitments pledged over five years in an effort to sustain and continue to improve upon the success of the Knights’ program.
Other highlights in White's first year at UCF also include the athletic department bringing its multimedia rights and corporate partnerships
White was regarded as one of the nation's most talented young athletic directors when he came to UCF from the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he served as Director of Athletics from May 2012 through December 2015. He brought a strong record of success in competition and in the classroom to UCF.
White, a former college basketball player
He played college basketball at Towson University and the University of Notre Dame and was director of operations and assistant coach for one season each with Ohio University’s men’s basketball team.
During his tenure in Buffalo, White worked with athletics administrators, coaches, and staff to transform the Bulls’ program and culture, shattering previous school records for student-athlete GPAs, NCAA tournament berths, fundraising, and football ticket sales.
During White’s three years at Buffalo, he, his colleagues and the Bulls’ student-athletes raised the program’s profile in the community and nationally. Their achievements include:
- Buffalo teams, including men’s basketball, earned three NCAA tournament bids in 2014-15, compared with just one in the prior 15 years.
- UB student-athletes have recorded an average GPA of at least 3.0 for seven consecutive semesters. Prior to White’s arrival, the average GPA had never
exceed3.0 in any semester.
- Financial support for UB athletics has reached an all-time high, with the number of donors increasing by 137 percent since the start of a membership campaign in 2013.
- UB shattered its football attendance records in 2013 after adding interactive opportunities for fans, including a tailgate concert series with nationally known artists.
- The state’s largest public university and the flagship of the SUNY system, UB for the first time adopted a radio network that spanned the entire state.
White is a 2002 graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned master’s degrees in both business administration and sports administration from Ohio University. He completed a doctorate degree in higher education from the University of Mississippi in 2016.
White comes from a family deeply involved in intercollegiate athletics. His father, Kevin, is director of athletics at Duke University. His brother, Michael, is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Florida. His brother, Brian, is the senior associate athletics director for development at the University of Missouri.
Danny and his wife, Shawn, have four children: Aidan, Molly, Caitlin
President John C. Hit, Director of Athletics Danny White at White's introductory news conference.
-Updated March 21, 2015