A lot has changed since the world emerged from the COVID-19 lockdowns, which was the last time we ranked the UCF Knights assistant coaches of years past.
In just three years since, several coaches have added to their legacies, while others burst onto the scene and made their presence felt.
With UCF getting ready for its first year as a member of the Big 12 (and in the Sun Belt in Men’s Soccer), it’s time the count down the Top 30 Assistant Coaches in UCF History.
Criteria used to create this list include:
- A coach’s impact on their respective team and on the school
- Accomplishments during and after their tenure
Before we begin, a few honorable mentions who just missed out on this list (in no particular order):
- Kevin Norris (2016-present), Robbie Laing (2016-present) and Vince Taylor (2017-2021), Men’s Basketball
- Michelle Chatman, Volleyball (2008-2015)
- Geoff Collins, Football (2008-2009)
- Dang Pibulvech, Men’s and Women’s Soccer (1981-1983)
Now, let’s begin the countdown:
#30 - Steve Sims (Women’s Golf)
Since Steve Sims joined Emily Marron’s staff for the 2013-14 season, the Knights have made seven NCAA Regional appearances and one NCAA National Championship appearance. In conference championships, Sims has helped the Knights capture two titles and finish in the top two in six of his eight-season tenure
He has also been on board for 16 All-AAC selections during his time at UCF, four of them coming from Ashley Holder.
Sims’ time as a Knight was highlighted by the 2018-19 season, in which a young UCF squad reached the NCAA National Championships for just the second time in program history after qualifying at the NCAA Cle Elum Regional in Washington. Sims helped lead the team to a regional after an impressive finish at the AAC Championship to earn a ranking of No. 51. The Knights finished runner-up for the second consecutive season and Freshman of the Year Elizabeth Moon nearly finished in first individually.
In the summer of 2022, Sims accepted an offer to become the head coach of the UTEP Women’s Golf team.
T-#29 - Dave Huxtable and George Godsey (Football)
Both Dave Huxtable and George Godsey’s tenures with the UCF Football coaching staff lasted from 2004-2010 under George O’Leary.
Huxtable served as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator from 2004 to 2007 and defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2010. He was part of the Knights CUSA Championships in 2007 and 2010, and four bowl game appearances (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010).
Following his time at UCF, Huxtable had brief stops at Wisconsin and Pittsburgh before landing at NC State as its defensive coordinator from 2013-19. He would spend the 2020-2022 seasons as an analyst for Texas (2020) and Alabama (2021-2022) and is now a senior defensive assistant for the Atlanta Falcons.
Godsey, a former Georgia Tech quarterback, first came to UCF in the fall of 2004 as an offensive graduate assistant coach, following O’Leary to Orlando.
He helped the Knights to a pair of Conference USA championships (2007, 2010) and the program’s first four bowl games. He spent the 2009-10 seasons as the Knights’ running backs coach, working with all-time runners like Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey, after spending 2005-08 as UCF’s quarterbacks coach working with Steven Moffett and Kyle Israel.
The Knights’ running game led to 11 wins in 2010, including a victory over Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and a season-ending ranking in both polls. Three different UCF tailbacks produced 100-yard rushing games in 2010, including Murray, who was named the MVP of both the CUSA Championship Game and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Godsey left UCF following the 2010 season for the NFL and has coached for the New England Patriots (2011-2013), Houston Texans (2014-2016), Detroit Lions (2017-2018), the Miami Dolphins (2019-2021) and now the Baltimore Ravens.
#28 - Tyler Heil (Softball)
Tyler Heil was added to the UCF staff as an assistant coach on July 1, 2021. He coached the infielders and catchers, focusing on team defense. Heil spent two seasons where UCF won 89 games, 2 NCAA Tournament appearances (22-23), Two AAC Tournament titles, AAC regular season title (2022) and the program’s first regional championship at Orlando Regional.
#27 - Ruben Felix & Hillary Barrow (Softball)
Ruben Felix spent four seasons (2011-2014) as a softball assistant coach & recruiting coordinator at UCF. In two of his last three seasons, the Knights advanced to the NCAA tournament (2012 & 2014).
While at UCF, Felix coached hitters, infielders, and catchers, and was the first base coach. In 2014, he helped UCF to a 43-18 overall record and their first-ever American Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship in program history. The 2014 UCF staff was named the AAC’s Coaching Staff of the Year. UCF had three NFCA All-Region selections.
Felix left UCF after the 2014 season to join Ole Miss, where he was an assistant from 2015-2019, helping the Rebels to two Super Regional appearances (2017 & 2019), an SEC Tournament championship (2017) and four NCAA Tournament appearances (2016-2019). Felix served as interim Head Coach at Ole Miss in 2020.
Hillary Barrow spent four seasons as an assistant coach (2013-2016) after joining the Knights’ staff in August 2012. Barrow was a player from 2007-2010 and was part of the 2008 C-USA Championship and two NCAA Tournament appearances (2008, 2010). Barrow and Craig Cozart (Baseball) are the only UCF alums to win a conference championship as a player and as a coach.
In Barrow’s second year of calling pitches, the 2015 UCF pitching staff posted the lowest ERA in the nation (0.92). Shelby Turnier posted the lowest individual ERA (0.87) in the country, won the American Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, and became UCF’s first NFCA All-American.
Barrow was part of two AAC Coaching Staff of the Year (2014-2015) awards after the Knights won the regular season and conference tournament championships in the same year (2015). The back-to-back conference champions made the first consecutive NCAA appearances in program history, finishing as the runner-up in the Tallahassee Regional.
Barrow left in 2016 for FIU, where she coached Shannon Saile and the Panthers into the NCAA Tournament in 2017. Barrow is currently the Head Coach at Quinnipiac.
T-#26 - Tiffany Jordan (Softball)
Tiffany Jordan joined the UCF softball coaching staff in October 2014, working with the infielders and on hitting.
Jordan has helped the Knights to NCAA regional finals in 2015, 2016 and 2021 and was a part of the 2015 American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year and the 2015 NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year.
Jordan was inducted into Youngstown State’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017 and was also named an assistant coach for the Canadian Junior Women’s National Team for the 2019 Softball World Cup, where Canada earned the bronze medal for the first time ever.
Assistant Coach Tiffany Jordan is going on her fifth year with UCF Softball. Get to know Coach Jordan as her and catcher Cassady Brewer take us on another trip around the diamond! pic.twitter.com/LUAvquNtUk— UCF Softball (@UCF_Softball) January 21, 2019
T-#26 - Beth Watson (Softball)
Beth Watson spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with UCF Knights Softball (2002-2008), helping Renee Luers Gillispie build the program from scratch. Watson’s on-field responsibilities included working with the infield and hitting.
Watson was part of UCF’s first two NCAA Tournament appearances (2005 and 2008), which included winning the 2005 ASUN Championship and 2008 CUSA Championship. The Knights got within one win of a Super Regional in 2008.
#25 - Rich Wallace (Baseball)
Rich Wallace’s coaching career started at UCF and he has now found his way back.
Following his playing career with the Knights, Wallace joined Jay Bergman’s coaching staff in 2004, coaching the catchers and outfielders while coordinating offseason camps. During that time, UCF won the ASUN regular season title in 2004 and reached the NCAA Tournament. He also worked with players such as Clay Timpner, Dee Brown, John-Micheal Howell, Drew Butera, Robert Lara, Shane Brown and Chris Duffy, who all went on to get selected in the MLB Draft.
Since he left Orlando in 2008, Wallace has served as an assistant coach at High Point, Creighton, Jacksonville, Notre Dame and Florida State. As an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, he helped Jacksonville to an NCAA Tournament berth as a No. 2 seed in 2018. As recruiting coordinator and third base coach, he helped the Fighting Irish to their first back-to-back Super Regionals in program history and to a College World Series appearance in 2022.
Now, he has found his way back to UCF as its new head coach. After 19 seasons of coaching, Wallace’s first head coaching job is back where it all began.
#24 - Brian Doyon (Volleyball)
Doyon joined the Knights in the spring of 2017. He served as the defensive coordinator and oversees practice design. In 2019, the Knights were 2nd nationally in team blocks and 40th in team digs, and three players - Nerissa Moravec, Anne-Marie Watson, and Lache Harper - were ranked among the top 30 players in blocks per set. Watson and Moravec finished their careers in the top three in program history in both block assists and total blocks.
He also worked with players such as Jordan Pingel, who broke the UCF single-season digs record in 2018, Kathryn Wesolich, who despite limited playing time in 2021, finished her UCF career in the top 10 in program history in total blocks, Abby Hansen, who tied for the tenth-most block assists in a single season in program history in 2022 (116) and Claudia Dillon, a two-time All-AAC First Team selection and an AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention selection in 2022.
Doyon was part of UCF’s five consecutive American Conference Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances from 2018-2022.
In Doyon’s first season with UCF in 2017, UCF was 33rd nationally in team digs and 38th in team blocks. Libero Jordan Pingel averaged 4.23 digs per set, the seventh-most in a single season in program history. Middle blockers Taylor Wickey and Jeanne Westney were among the top 300 players in the nation ranked in blocks per set.
Nowadays, Doyon is an assistant coach for the upcoming Pro Volleyball Federation Atlanta franchise, following former UCF Volleyball head coach Todd Dagenais.
ATL PVF SCORES A HUGE COACHING WIN! @CoachDoyon joins the ATL PVF coaching staff!— AtlProVolleyball (@AtlProVB) July 7, 2023
Check out press release: https://t.co/4kSS7FSvzy@atlprovb @realprovb @rallyvolleyball #AtlantaIMIN #ATLProVolleyball #ATLVolleyball pic.twitter.com/hzF8weOwko
#23 - Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (Women Tennis)
Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar joined Bryan Koniecko’s staff as an assistant coach in August 2016 after playing on the WTA from 2014-16. During her five dual-match seasons with the program (2017-2021), the Knights won two AAC titles and made three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Sanchez-Quintanar was named the ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2019 as the Knights went 24-4, won The American and reached the NCAA Sweet 16. UCF repeated its AAC title and Sweet 16 appearance in 2021.
Sanchez-Quintanar left UCF in the summer of 2021 to become the head coach of the Arkansas women’s tennis team. According to her profile page on Arkansas’ Athletics website, she “played a key role in UCF’s recruiting process.”
She resigned from Arkansas in April 2023.
T-#22 - Jeff Chakouian and Paul Brown (Track and Field)
Jeff Chakouian spent eight seasons (2010-2017) coaching all field events at UCF in addition to serving as the recruiting coordinator.
In 2017, he helped coach UCF to an American Athletic Conference Indoor Track Championship and saw a hammer throw school record fall during the outdoor season. Chakouian coached three throwers to the NCAA Preliminaries.
Chakouian was also part of four straight Conference USA outdoor championships (2010-2013) and two indoor C-USA championships (2011 and 2013).
In 2013, Chakouian was part of UCF’s top-five finish at the NCAA Championships, picking up the first top-five finish in an NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship by a non-BCS program since 2000. Specifically, he guided long jumper Jen Clayton to a bronze medal, the highest finish by a field athlete in program history.
He also guided hammer thrower Tayla Greene to the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2016.
Today, the program’s current indoor and outdoor shot put, javelin throw and weight throw records remain the in the hands of Chakouian athletes.
Chakouian left UCF after 2017 to become an assistant coach at Baylor, where he remains today.
Freshman @gmoorethrows had a great first meet. Over 17 meters in shot put and new school record in weight of 19.90. Not bad for his first time wearing the on his chest! He won that belt! #Sicem pic.twitter.com/hIQWey0P9k— Jeff Chakouian (@CoachChak) January 15, 2023
While Paul Brown’s time as a Knight was shorter (2010-2013), he also has his part to play in the UCF Track team’s success during this time. He served as the cross-country coach and worked with the jumpers, middle runners and long-distance runners during the track and field season.
This also put him in the sphere of Clayton’s 2013 bronze medal run, though he also worked with other long jumpers like Sonnisha Williams, who made the NCAA Championships three times with Brown, and Jacquelyn Gilchrist, who made the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships with Williams.
Brown helped the Knights to five CUSA titles during his tenure (three outdoor (2011-2013) and two indoor (2011 and 2013)).
He also worked with freshman Anne-Marie Blaney for the 2012 cross-country season and the 2013 Track and field season. She won two 5Ks during the regular cross country season, a bronze medal in the 5K at the CUSA Indoor Championships and another bronze in the 10K at the CUSA Outdoor Championships. She still holds the program’s freshman records in the 10K and both the indoor and outdoor 5K today.
T-#21 - Tahnee Balerio, Isoken Uzamere, and Nykesha Sales (Women’s Basketball)
Clique, squad, crew, or pack. However u put it just know we rolling #ucfassistants #50shades #girlpower #scratchthat #womenpower #wemakeitlookeasy #itsreallynotthough #iforcedthemtotakethispicture #tahneelikehurryupandmove #meandkesharecomfy #keshdidntgetthelegmemo#stillcute pic.twitter.com/DkTNkV2hCD— Isoken Eas Uzamere (@CoachEas1) January 10, 2018
It’s hard to keep a core group of assistants together for a long time when you’re successful, but UCF Women’s Hoops head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson has reaped the benefits of one of the best assistant coach stables in the nation.
Tahnee Balerio was hired as an assistant coach in April 2016 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2019. Her primary responsibilities include the development of guards, opponent scouting reports and recruiting.
Isoken Uzamere was also hired in April 2016. Her primary responsibilities include the development of post players, opponent scouting reports and recruiting.
In their four seasons at UCF, they have helped guide the Knights to five consecutive postseason appearances (the 2020 postseason was not played due to COVID), including the program’s first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19 and its first NCAA Tournament win against Florida in 2022.
All three coaches followed Abrahamson-Henderson to Georgia in the 2022 offseason, where they remain today.