ORLANDO, Fla. – Knight Nation has become a force to be reckoned with, and the country is taking notice.
Most of the focus surrounding the success of the athletic program at the University of Central Florida centers around the football program, but the school is seeing improvements in all 16 of its sports.
The rise of UCF athletics arguably began in 2015 after Danny White was hired as vice president and director of athletics. White is considered to be one of the nation's best young athletic directors and also one of the most polarizing.
News 6 anchor Justin Warmoth spoke with White on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com" to talk about his success and the football team's incredible 25-game winning streak coming to an end.
"It's hard to win just one game, let alone 25," White said. "We had a target on our back every single week. It was most likely our opposing team's biggest game of the season and our players handled it with class, and represented their university and community well."
UCF's winning streak was stopped by a very talented LSU team in the Fiesta Bowl.
In the weeks leading up to the game, reports also began to surface surrounding negotiations between UCF and the University of Florida about the possibility of scheduling a future match-up. White and UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin both decided it wasn't a good deal for either school.
"That game was never going to happen because it doesn't make sense for schools like us to play two-for-ones," White said. "Two-for-ones are for schools that don't sell out. We need to schedule the way we need to schedule to build our football program and our fan base."
While the football team gets a lot of recognition, both men's and women's basketball programs are also having strong starts to their respective seasons.
"We have never been in competition for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament with either program and we're now in really strong shape," White said. "We're hopeful that we can make some runs in the tournaments."
Under White's leadership, the Knights have not only seen great success in competition, but also in the classroom and community.
In the spring of 2018, UCF's student-athletes achieved an average GPA of 3.33, the highest in the program's history.
"It's amazing," White said. "The time demands for participating at the highest level in college sports and then to be as competitive as we are in the classroom. We have had 23 straight semesters where average GPA is over a 3.0."
With all of the success White has had in just a few years, many have speculated that larger schools would try to lure him away from UCF, but he said he'll be a Knight for life.
"I couldn't be more invested for the long haul and everything that we're doing at UCF. I want to see this through," White said. "There's not a more fulfilling way to have a career as an athletic director."
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