What I Learned About New UCF A.D. Danny White

Danny White Hired as New Athletic Director

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Incoming UCF athletic director Danny White is still a relatively unknown quantity in UCF circles, even after his introduction. Indeed, during his press conference, it seemed as though his hiring process came and went so fast that even he was beset by a mild case of whiplash.

Here is White’s interview with Marc Daniels following his hiring:

And here’s the full presser, as recorded by the Orlando Sentinel:

Fortunately, we have the internet, and that allows us to do some digging on his background, which gives us good insight into what kind of A.D. he will be when he arrives here in Orlando full-time on December 14th. I’ve dug up some highlights from around the interwebs and here’s a dossier:

The Danny White File

Personal

  • 35 years old
  • Married to Shawn
  • Four kids: Aidan, 11, Molly, 8, Kaitlyn, 6, and James, 3
  • Father: Kevin – Duke Athletic Director. Also worked at Maine (when Dr. John Hitt was there), Tulane, Arizona State and Notre Dame (where he hired and fired George O’Leary within three days)
  • Brother: Mike – Head basketball coach at Florida. 2015 C-USA Coach of the Year at Louisiana Tech, where he spent four years and posted a 101-40 record. Played at Ole Miss from ’95-’99.

Career Path

Education

  • Graduate of Jesuit High School in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • Bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame in business administration.
  • Master’s Degrees from Ohio University in both business administration and sports administration.
  • Reportedly pursuing a doctorate in higher education from the University of Mississippi.

Sports Career

  • Played college basketball at Towson from 1998-2001.
  • Transferred to Notre Dame as a senior, played in 2001-2002 for Mike Brey (Here’s his Notre Dame player bio, which is still online).
  • 2003-2004 – Director of Operations, Men’s Basketball, Ohio University
  • 2004-2005 – Assistant Coach, Men’s Basketball, Ohio University under Tim O’Shea. Made NCAA Tournament.
  • 2005-2006 – Development Associate, Ole Miss (UMAA Foundation)
  • 2006-2007 – Assistant A.D. for Development, Northern Illinois
  • 2007-2009 – Associate A.D. for Development, Fresno State
  • 2009-2010 – Chief Development Officer, later Executive Director, UMAA Foundation, Ole Miss
  • 2010-2012 – Senior Associate Athletic Director, Ole Miss
  • 2012-2015 – Athletic Director, Buffalo

Reviews

Give a listen to this episode of the Knightline Podcast with Andrew Phegley and Trace Trylko. They discuss White’s tenure at Buffalo with Matt Gritzmacher of Bull Run, the SBNation blog covering Buffalo. The interview starts at the 10:22 mark:

Gritzmacher’s article that he references is here:

State of Buffalo Bulls Athletics: The Danny White Firing Era in Historical Context

Signature Moves

  • White’s New York Bulls Initiative sought to leverage Buffalo, the largest state school in New York, top-of-mind in a state that generally isn’t too big on college sports.
  • His Business Backs the Bulls initiative sought to get more support for the Buffalo program specifically from small local businesses in Buffalo and around Western New York. This commitment to local business is something UCF needs desperately.
  • He is serious with his coaches about results. According to Gritzmacher, White has hired nine new coaches in his time at Buffalo, and as he said in the podcast with Andrew and Trace above, has nailed every one.
  • He’s not afraid to stand up to establishment. Case in point: White fired 20-year-tenured wrestling coach Jim Beichner after an NCAA scandal that cost the Bulls two years of postseason appearances. White took some crap for it – and some other things – from some local fuddy-duddies (yes, I just used that term to describe crusty Buffalo media types, both young and old), but the move has largely been a success to this point.

Red Flags

  • He’s young, so he may not stay long if he does a really good job here.
  • Depending on whom you ask, White may have mishandled Bobby Hurley’s contract extension, although it seems weird that an athletic director would tell his rising star big-name basketball coach that he “didn’t deal with agents.”
  • His father’s ties to President Hitt and George O’Leary show at the very least that this is a small business.

On balance, I think the positives out-weigh the negatives. UCF’s athletic department should have a reputation as a young, brash, progressive mover-and-shaker. These are traits that have been used to describe White. December 14th cannot come soon enough.

About Jeff Sharon 164 Articles

Jeff Sharon is the Managing Editor, Publisher, and boss around here. He graduated from UCF in 2005 and worked in the Knights’ athletic department full-time from 2008-2010. He still works for UCF as a public address announcer at several sporting events and also thinks the Atlantic Sun Conference days were more fun than you realized. Follow him on Twitter at @Jeff_Sharon.