Sources tell News 6 UCF head coach George O'Leary forced to retire
University of Central Florida head football coach George O'Leary is leaving a program he didn't want to leave right now.
Sources tell News 6 Sports Director David Pingalore that O'Leary was forced to retire by UCF President John Hitt and Vice President Grant Heston following Saturday's defeat to Houston.
"O'Leary was going to retire following the season. It was the plan, right along," the source told Pingalore.
Hitt invited 70 friends to Saturday's game with only 28 showing up, according to the source.
"That was it for O'Leary. Too much pressure from alumni and boosters with an 0-8 record," the source said.
Hitt hired O'Leary in 2003 and was known to be friends with the head coach, but according to insiders, that relationship has been sour at best in recent times.
Hitt continued, saying, "I have a lot of respect for George. I think he has done a tremendous job at this university. I like George a lot. Sorry he is leaving, it was hard, but that's life."
Pingalore's sources said the 69-year-old coach wanted to retire just after the Dublin trip a year ago, but administrators "begged" him to stay on for last year and this season. O'Leary obliged, with the expectation of retiring following the 2015 season.
People close to the coach said, "O'Leary didn't want it to be known about the pending retirement until season's end, because he didn't want to be known
as a lame duck coach."
O'Leary spent Monday cleaning out his office, very upset with the way this played out. Insiders close to coach said, "that he felt betrayed by the administration about being forced to retire," adding O'Leary was told he would not be paid the final two months of the contract.
O'Leary has no desire to sue the school for those two months of being paid.
Since being asked to resign O'Leary has not met face to face with any administration staff. One of the sources said, "How do you go from being so beloved after winning a Fiesta Bowl to being treated like this."
Quarterbacks coach Danny Barrett takes over the final four games. He spent five seasons with O'Leary at UCF. He told News 6 Monday, "O'Leary has done a lot of great things for this University and community."
As much as O'Leary has done for this institution, "it's sickening" on how he was treated with just four games left, according to Pingalore's sources.
O'Leary led the school to seven bowl appearances with a record of 81-68. In the summer O'Leary told Pingalore, "There's going to come a time and place where I say it's time to move on and I will look back on the history of coaching. There's been ups and downs, I think, mostly ups."
Copyright 2015 by ClickOrlando.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.