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Lovelady Looking Forward
July 13, 2016
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ORLANDO ( - New UCF head baseball coach Greg Lovelady has had his eye on UCF for a while.

As a Miami native and former Hurricane player and coach, he has been familiar with the Knights for many years. More recently, while taking Wright State to back-to-back NCAA Regionals the past two seasons, UCF was still in the back of his mind.

"There are always jobs where you say 'If that job came open, I would definitely listen,'" Lovelady told Voice of the Knights Marc Daniels on The Beat of Sports Tuesday morning on 96.9 The Game. "I was extremely happy at Wright State. I have a lot of roots. My family ... a lot of players (who), in 12 years, you just grow to love. You're part of their lives and part of their families. I felt like there were three jobs that if they ever came open that I would listen to what they had to say because it would be an opportunity I felt like I couldn't pass up. This was one of them."

The new Knights head man told Daniels that he has always had some admiration for UCF. But he said those positive feelings grew as he heard more about what was going on in Orlando.

"Obviously with the new leadership with Danny (White) ... I had heard a lot of good things," Lovelady said. "Obviously, there are a lot of ties I have down in Florida. When they called, I was excited to hear more about that. The more you educate yourself and learn about what's going on down there, the people down there, the facilities, the vision and the plans for the future, it's just so exciting. I was thrilled to get the offer and jumped on it."

Lovelady had an opportunity to speak to many of the current Knights players via video conference Monday evening, but hasn't been able to meet them in person yet. However, he has taken a few minutes to do some research on the roster.

"I'm not well-versed on (the roster)," Lovelady admitted. "I know they had a bunch of injuries. I know that Robby Howell had an unbelievable year on the mound. I know Juan Pimentel has a chance to be a Friday night guy as well. I know that the (Kyle) Marsh kid is coming off of surgery and has the ability to be a really, really good arm and a front-line Friday night guy. When guys are healthy, they've got a chance to be really, really special. I think the talent is there."

It was the aforementioned talent that helped convince Lovelady to move from Wright State, where he had spent the previous 12 years.

"I was very leery of going anywhere I felt I had to rebuild a program from the ground up ... and would be a three or four-year rebuilding process," Lovelady said. "I really didn't want to do that. That's not where I wanted to be. It just makes it a lot easier to go in knowing guys are talented and hopefully they have the drive to want to be great and to turn things around a little bit. Like I told the guys, we're going to practice every day as hard as we possibly can and do everything we possibly can to win championships. The expectations will be there from day one. I expect to be able to compete for a championship this year."

Lovelady still isn't sure when he'll get to campus at UCF. He will be spending the next few weeks putting together a staff, getting his family prepared for a move to Orlando and talking to prospective student-athletes about the Knights during a very important time on the recruiting calendar. While he may have to, really can't wait to get here.

"There's obviously a lot of things I've got to do back in Dayton and a lot of things I need to do in Orlando," he said. "There's excitement to come down there and start something that I feel is going to be extremely, extremely special -- not only for our players at UCF -- but for the Central Florida community."

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