March 1, 2007
Orlando, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF head coach George O'Leary moved quickly to fill the void left following the resignation of Jim Bernhardt from his coaching staff, naming Jim Panagos as the new defensive line coach for the Golden Knights on Thursday.
Panagos will be one of four new assistants on O'Leary's 2007 staff, joining new hires John Skladany (defensive coordinator) and Earnest Collins (secondary) as well as the recently promoted David Kelly (wide receivers).
"I am very excited to be here and have the opportunity to work with Coach O'Leary again," Panagos said. "This is a growing program and an exciting time around here with the new stadium going up. It is just a great time to be a part of the UCF family."
Panagos' last coaching stop was with the Minnesota Vikings, where he spent four seasons splitting time between coaching the defensive line and special teams in Minneapolis. He spent his first season with the Vikings in 2002 as the offensive quality control assistant.
"Right now with the addition of Jim Panagos, who was an assistant to me for the Minnesota Vikings, we just keep moving along in the right direction," O'Leary said. "Jim played at the University of Maryland and is familiar with the system and I think he will be a great help to these young kids and the young linemen, especially with the pass rushing that we need to improve on." "
Panagos spent four years following his playing days at Maryland (1989-92) in the sales industry, then four years coaching and teaching at the high school level in Tampa, Fla., before joining the Vikings' staff. He also spent a year as a student assistant coach while finishing up his undergraduate degree at Maryland in 1994.
Bernhardt spent three seasons with the UCF football program, including the last two as an assistant coach following a year as director of football operations. Bernhardt was instrumental in the development of junior running back Kevin Smith, who was the 2005 Conference USA Freshman of the Year and a second team all-league honoree in 2006.
"This decision is all about family," Bernhardt said. "I am looking forward to spending more time with them, more than I have been able to in the past. At the same time, it is disappointing to leave the good things that are happening with this program, but I have to do what is best for my family."