Danny White Addresses Coaching Change


UCF Director of Athletics Dr. Daniel J. White
Opening Statement:
"Wow, what a game. Holy cow, we're conference champs. That was exciting. If that's not Power 6 football, then I don't know what is. I think we are ranked 14 and Memphis was 20. I think both those teams are better than that…that was unbelievable football. I am really proud of our team, of our student athletes, our coaches, and really proud of our conference. I think the American Athletic Conference is coming fast and that was an awesome championship game.
"We have obviously announced that Scott [Frost] has chosen to go back to his alma mater. It was a very difficult decision for him. Obviously as you saw some of the emotion here at the press conference following the game, I can say I have been talking with Scott throughout the season. He's been conflicted and the reason he's been conflicted is because he sees how special of a place this is. This is a unique opportunity that we have here to build a perennial Top 25 athletic department a perennial Top 25 football program. That's the charge; the charge hasn't changed.
"We're still the fastest growing university and the fastest growing city in America with the best recruiting base. This place has more potential I think than any athletic department in the country.
"I want to thank Scott and his wife Ashley for their contributions to the program. I don't think anybody expected the turnaround to happen in just two years. And obviously the opportunity and call to go back home and I understand the connection with one's alma mater. So, I understand his decision and now it's my job to prepare as I have been.
"I think any good athletic director is proactive and prepared and I can tell you I've been proactive and I'm prepared. I think we are the most attractive football opening in the nation right now with a young roster and with a ton of talent. Obviously, the number one scoring offense in the country with most of those student athletes returning for next year. This is just a very desirable place to be. This football job was extremely attractive and there was a ton of a demand two years ago coming off of 0-12. Now coming off of 12-0, I'm expecting and already know that there's even more interest and more demand.
"I'm going to conduct a national search and I'm going to meet with our team here shortly. I just spoke to the whole team. Right now, they're voting on team reps that I will meet with. It's the same thing I did the last time; I had to do that over video conference from Buffalo. That's what I do for all of our coaching searches. I'll meet with our team, hear from them, and I want their input on what attributes they would look for in a leader. That helps me understand where their heads are at. Then obviously, I'll introduce the new coach to them as well. The search will start with our team and it'll end with our team.
"Our No.1 core value is student athlete success and we live by that so that's our No. 1 priority. It's going to be a fast search. We got the first year of the early signing date and that's important…Having a new direction for this program is important, but Scott and his staff are committed to this team through the bowl game. We'll figure out what that means later this week and get into the details of that, but we kind of got two things happening.
"We're looking for a new coach for the new direction for 2018 and beyond and for recruiting, but the current football staff and Scott are committed as they should be and they understand these kids deserve their commitment, because we have got a really special opportunity to make the season even more historic by winning the New Year's Day bowl game that we are expecting to be invited to tomorrow.
"That's just my opening comments, I'm happy to take any questions but before I do that I'll just conclude with this press conference will be my last public comments until I'm introducing our new head coach to you guys.
On preparing for Coach Frost's departure:
"I've been preparing for weeks just on the possibility long before I knew if he was going to leave or not. I've been preparing."
On the interim head coach:
"I wanted whatever was to give us the best chance to win the game. And I think that we will still figure out what that means again for game day. But certainly the staff that's preparing this team for the 12 games that we've won probably know what they're doing to prepare them for the 13th game. I felt like that was the right thing to do with a new coach coming in, is going to be focused on building their staff and obviously recruiting."
On hiring Coach Frost:
"I had no idea that Nebraska was going to fire their A.D., because they lost in Northern Illinois and I had no idea that we were going to be as good as we are in year two. But at the end of the day, I was hiring the best coach. I know and wanted that brand of football here. It's obviously working with the speed and talent in Florida. I thought that we could differentiate ourselves and get nationally ranked. And that's what we've done and that's what we want to continue to sustain. And so that brand of football with the right person to do that. That's where I arrived with Scott Frost and that's how I'll come up with the next decision as well."
On dialogue between White and Coach Frost:
"I'd rather keep our conversations to us. But he was very forthright with me throughout the season. I started the conversation probably in early October when we both realized we were a heck of a lot better than we should be in year two and I kind of figured there'd be some interest."
On today:
"A bittersweet day? No, we just won a conference championship. They were taking confetti out of my hair, just a short while ago. I'm excited for our team. I'm excited for our kids. I'm excited for Scott. This is a unique opportunity to go coach back at his alma mater. We will turn the page on this tomorrow and we will start focusing on preparing for a bowl game, once we find out for sure which one that will be. I think today it is not bittersweet. I think it's a historic moment in the growth of our program. I think about today. It's really the last seven or eight days, that South Florida atmosphere, that stadium was unbelievable. I think that's the most fans we have ever had in that stadium. Then, today was probably the second most fans we ever had in that stadium. I think that this whole week has been a great step as a program towards where we want to be…that thing should be sold out on a season ticket basis and we are going to keep grinding until that happens."
On the coaching search:
"Put a timeframe on it just because I'm not going to hire somebody until I get that right feeling. It could be days it could be weeks. I don't think it will be weeks. But it's got to get right and we've got to make sure. It's more complicated when it's not a rebuild because you've got to make sure you get the right person for this team. You know we get a lot of talent coming back. It's not like we're rebooting and starting a new philosophy or a new brand of football. We've got a pretty good team coming back. We got a chance to be really good next year so that probably makes it a little more of a complex decision."
On what he's looking for in a head coach:
"A good one. The first thing that I'll do, and I'm fortunate to have grown up in this business and working hard in my career to build a network. I have people that I can draw on to make sure that I know everything about our candidate pool's character. I'm not going to bring somebody here that I have any questions about integrity or character. The coaches that we have hired here are all extremely high-character people. We talk about winning football games and raising money in the market driven side of what we do, but at the end of the day, the most important thing we do is develop young men and women. We develop them as people, students and athletes. You have got to have a high-character person to do that. Scott Frost exudes that character in our new football coach as well. So that's the number one characteristic. "
On schools interested in Coach Frost:
"I won't get into the specifics of which programs he talked to. He and I had open dialogue all season. I think it is fair to say the pull to the alma mater is what won the day. He understands and communicated to me at many times how special UCF is in comparison to some of the other openings for this football season."
On upcoming bowl game:
"We're going to work on the details on what happens on game day of the bowl game. Scott is not going to be in the state for some of this time period obviously, so the team needs a leader day to day and that will be Troy Walters. We'll figure out exactly how the day of the bowl game unfolds. Scott has committed to do whatever the right thing to do to give us the best chance to win the bowl game."
On when Coach Frost made the decision:
"I don't know. I guess Scott would have to answer that question. But I think it was probably more about the ability to say no to something that's been a part of his whole life versus maybe being excited about leaving here. But it's hard to identify that. You are in the middle of season and preparing for every game and it's hard to know exactly when he made that decision. But what you saw in the press conference is real. It's a very difficult decision for him and something that we talked about for weeks."
On the coaching staff:
"We've got to figure out exactly how that plays out, but his mind is very focused on preparing this team; and this whole staff is preparing our team to compete in the bowl. They're going to coach them in the bowl. There's nobody else that can do it and you can't bring in new coaches and expect us to be as competitive as we want to be."
On the remaining staff
"I haven't made that determination yet, but Troy Walters is serving as interim head coach."
On Coach Frost choosing Nebraska
"I don't think it's about something bigger than the school. I think it's about alma mater. This place is really unique as I said before. Scott understands that it was very hard for him to walk away from this. The opportunity that he had here. I don't think it had anything to do with the size of Nebraska's budget or the conference they're in. I think it had everything to do with it being his alma mater."
On the brand of football:
"Not a prerequisite for the head coaching job, but I think we have subscribed to this brand of football. I think it's a brand that is innovative. That is what UCF is as a university. We're innovative; we're forward thinking. It's exciting to watch. It's fun for our kids to play. I know most high school kids in the state of Florida already run it in high school and they like it, too. So, we're going to continue to play this way. But whether the head coach has an offensive background or defensive background, I don't want to box myself in terms of, I don't want limit the search, that way necessarily."