The 'Stache' just dropped the mic!
By: Jerry O’Neill
... nobody will love it more ... but like a baton in a relay race ... it is time to pass the mic ...
For 24 seasons I have had the best seat in the house for UCF football games ... and I never sat down.
Since 1995 I have served as a part of the UCF Knights ... Golden Knights way back when ... pre & post-game ... but also as the sideline reporter ... field-level ... where the action is ... in and amongst the troops.
Man did I love it! From Coach McDowell with freshman QB Daunte Culpepper in '95 ... to this most recent run under Coach Frost and now Coach Heupel. What a blast! They paid me to do it ... but I'd have done it for free ... too late I spent the money ... at least most of it!
... all those crushing 'near misses' in the early days ... that '98 loss at Auburn (10-6) that cost UCF its first bowl bid stings to this day!
But there were program building wins as well ... a late October Saturday at Bryant-Denny ... R-frosh Ryan Schneider quarterbacked UCF to the 40-38 win over Bama ... spoiling the Crimson Tide's Homecoming!
Coach O'Leary was as tough an SOB as I have ever been around ... but I laugh out loud when I re-visit some of the many memories while he was in charge ... and believe me he was in charge!!!
How 'bout that bowl win over Georgia ... our first ... in the Liberty Bowl on 12/31/2010 ... and oh my gosh the party afterwards ... leading me to coin the phrase 'what happens in Memphis STAYS IN MEMPHIS'. Marc Daniels still has all the pictures ... maybe some videos ... I hope not!
Speaking of Marc Daniels ... 'the Voice of the Knights', he has captained our ship of broadcasters this entire time. I consider him and our broadcast team as my best friends ... Gary Parris, the UCF color analyst, is as good a man that God has molded, our stats guy Bill Harvey, Scott Adams, Brian Fritz ... and there are others ... they're all near and dear to me. We tell anyone who will listen to us that our engineer Frank Lovre is the best in the business ... and then he goes and proves it every week. As much as I will miss the football action ... I will miss those guys more.
Until this latest run the 2013 season stands out ... the 'Cardiac Knights' as I called them ... with all those late-game theatrics ... including the ESPY-winning TD catch by JJ Worton in the improbable come-from-behind win at Temple. The final chapter that year was the 'in-your-face' win over then sixth ranked Baylor ... an answer to all those critics who thought our guys couldn't handle the 'bright lights' up on that stage.
I leave the sidelines on a one-game losing streak ... but we won the 25 games before that!!! Damn!!! I can barely breathe when I revisit those wins over USF & Memphis!
In February my wife Annie and I retired ... and moved up the road a piece ... to get away from the hustle of the metro area. We look forward to this chapter of our lives.
To the UCF Family ... and to the hundreds and hundreds of players ... my sincere thanks ... for the love and friendship ... in a common bond ... Go Knights! Charge On!
... but like a baton in a relay race ... it is time to pass the mic ...
... nobody will love it more!