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
In case you missed #30-21. click the link below to check them out:
Now, let’s continue the countdown:
#20 - Craig Brown and Dwight Evans (Men’s Basketball)
Coach Craig Brown, Assistant Coach for FAMU (@FAMU_1887 ) talks with Coach Dan Cross about the recruiting process and what college scouts look for in a student athlete!— Dan Cross: Game Speed Elite Travel Team (@GameSpeedElite) March 11, 2022
Part 2!#aaubasketball #gamespeed #orlandobasketball #prephoopsfl #prephoopsflorida #floridahoops pic.twitter.com/ItHIp4rlzq
Craig Brown helped the Knights make trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2005. He played a key role in Jermaine Taylor’s development, who earned All-America honors and the Conference USA Player of the Year Award in 2008-09. Brown coached 10 all-conference selections at UCF.
Brown came back to UCF in 2012 as the Director of Operations for Donnie Jones. Nowadays, he is an assistant basketball coach at Florida A&M.
As for Dwight Evans, he had two different UCF stints - from 1992-1994 and again from 2002-2010. His specialty was working with post players, and five UCF players earned all-conference over his tenure.
He was a member of Kirk Speraw’s first staff at UCF and helped the 1993-94 team reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
Later, Evans recruited Jermaine Taylor, who was eventually selected in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. Evans also helped UCF win back-to-back ASUN Championships and trips to NCAA Tournament in 2004 and 2005.
Nowadays, he is a job recruiter for BBVA Compass.
T-#19 - Becky (Frost) Cramer and Kim Cupini (Rowing)
Before she became long-time rowing head coach Becky Cramer, she was assistant coach Becky Frost on the staff of Leeanne Crain.
From 2004-2006, Frost worked with the team’s novice squad. In 2007, she coached the 2nd Varsity Eight boat as the Knights made their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
After Crain departed for Oklahoma, Frost took over the program on an interim basis for the 2008 season, got married that summer and had the interim tag removed the following season.
Check out the Top 30 Greatest UCF Head Coaches list to learn about Cramer’s 15-year head coaching tenure.
‼️ ‼️#VolNation, join us in welcoming head coach Kim Cupini to Rocky Top!— Tennessee Rowing (@Vol_Rowing) June 9, 2023
She's one of the most decorated coaches in collegiate rowing, and she's bringing a championship pedigree to our program!
Also on staff for that historic 2007 season was Kim Cupini. During her brief time with the Knights (2005-2007), she served as Varsity Assistant Coach.
In 2006, she helped the Varsity Eight boat break into the Top 20 of the CRCA’s Varsity Eight poll for the first time in program history.
Following the historic 2007 season, Cupini was lured back to her alma mater, San Diego, to take over their rowing program as head coach. After 10 years and four WCC titles, she became SMU’s head coach in 2017.
When Cupini arrived in Dallas, UCF was in the middle of a five-year-long stretch as the AAC Champion (2015-2019). However, she would lead SMU to break the Knights’ streak and go on one of their own, taking the AAC Championship for three consecutive seasons (2021-2023) before UCF’s departure to the Big 12.
Cupini was hired by former UCF AD Danny White to take over Tennessee’s rowing program on June 9, 2023.
#18 - Ray Ridenour (Men’s Basketball)
Ray Ridenour, Torchy’s trusted UCF assistant (1974-80) remembered, “The highlight of my career was working with Torchy. When people ask me if he got mad or was tough, I always answer ‘Yes,’ but he was funny and good. There was always humor in everything he did.” ‘Torchy’ @ Amazon pic.twitter.com/dgyxNgQ7QK— Bo Clark Basketball (@BoClarkcamp) August 20, 2020
Ray Ridenour was an assistant coach under Torchy Clark from 1974-1980 for three Sunshine State Conference championships (1976-1978) and 4 NCAA Tournament appearances (1976-1978, 1980), including a trip to the Division II Final Four in 1978.
#17 - Glenn Smith (Track and Field)
Since his arrival on the UCF Track and Field team in September 2020, Smith has sent four athletes to NCAA Championships. For comparison, four different athletes qualified for NCAA Championships across the entire 2010s decade.
He coached Asherah Collins to three consecutive NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In 2021, she became the first athlete to make the championship in a field event since 2016. In 2023, she earned second-team All-American honors by coming in 10th place in the triple jump, becoming the first UCF athlete to finish in the top 10 in a field event since 2013.
Smith also coached heptathlete Brittany Floyd and discus thrower Adrienne Adams to the 2022 NCAA Outdoor Championship, becoming the first UCF athletes to make it there in those events in program history.
During his time with the program, the Knights won both the indoor and outdoor AAC titles two seasons in a row (2022-2023). The program’s pentathlon, heptathlon, outdoor triple jump and discus throw records are all held by Smith’s athletes.
#16 - Paul Lounsberry (Football)
Daunte’s journey to UCF is quite the story— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) August 25, 2022
as told by the man who recruited him, Coach Lounsberry pic.twitter.com/UGKkXVCfai
While Paul Lounsberry coached the offensive line for the UCF football team from 1987-1999, he was also the coach that directly recruited Daunte Culpepper.
As the story goes, UCF was one of two schools that continued recruiting Culpepper after concerns with his high school academics put his collegiate athletics eligibility in doubt. Lounsberry was the one that UCF sent to Ocala to directly meet with him. After looking at the player’s transcripts and crunching the numbers, he told Culpepper the grades he needed to be eligible.
“We sat down and went over a plan,” Culpepper said to the New York Times in 1995. “Before, I had been kind of lazy. I just would put off doing any studying. Once I started making it a priority, things changed.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
However, Lounsberry also worked with some notable Knights on the O-line, such as UCF Hall of Famer Sylvester Bembrey during his 1987 senior season, Mike Gruttadauria, who went on to win the Super Bowl with the Rams in 2000 and Cornell Green, who won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003.
#15 - Paul Souders (Men’s Soccer)
Paul Souders joined the UCF men’s soccer staff in 2016 as an assistant coach and was promoted to Associate Head Coach in 2018.
Souders helps run the Knights’ offense, which let forward Cal Jennings score 46 career goals, the most in program history in the 21st century. He has also worked with three-time All-Region selection Gino Vivi, who was drafted by the LA Galaxy, and Lucca Dourado, who enters 2024 with the seventh-most career goals in program history (28).
He also recruited forward/midfielder Nick Taylor to UCF from the transfer portal, where he proceeded to get nine assists, tying for the eighth-most in a single season in program history.
Souders and company earned the American Athletic Conference Coaching Staff of the Year in back-to-back seasons (2018-19). He also helped the Knights to four AAC titles (three regular-season, one tournament), three NCAA Tournament appearances and two Sweet 16 appearances.
#14 - Brent Key (Football)
Brent Key spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach at UCF. He originally started as a graduate assistant in 2005.
Key was UCF’s offensive line coach for six seasons (2009-14), holding the title of assistant head coach from 2012-14. He also served six seasons as the Knights’ recruiting coordinator (2007, 2010-14). Key coached the tight ends from 2006-08 and added the role of special teams coordinator for the 2008 campaign. He spent the 2015 season as the Knights’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, Key was selected as a national nominee for the Broyles Award, which is given to the top assistant coach in college football.
During Key’s time in Orlando, the Knights went to bowl games and won four conference titles (2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014). Following 2015, Key went on to join Alabama’s coaching staff as offensive line coach (2016-2018) and is currently the head coach at Georgia Tech.
#13 - Matt Mott (Women’s Soccer)
Matt Mott served as an assistant coach on the UCF Women’s Soccer team for four years under Karen Richter (1995-1998).
During that time, the Knights were ASUN regular-season and tournament champions three times (1995, 1996 and 1998) and made one NCAA Tournament appearance in 1998.
Mott would go on to follow Richter (now Karen Hoppa) to Auburn in 1999 and would coach there until 2005, helping Hoppa take the Tigers to four NCAA Tournament appearances. He would then move on to Texas, coaching under Chris Petrucelli from 2006-2010, helping the Longhorns to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s.
His first head coaching job came at Ole Miss in 2010. In 13 seasons with the program, Mott led the Rebels to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s.
Entering the 2023 season, he will begin a new chapter of his coaching career as the head coach of the Oklahoma Women’s Soccer team.
#12 - Rick Stockstill (Football)
Rick Stockstill has been the Head Coach at Middle Tennessee since 2006, making him the third-longest tenured head coach in the FBS.
However, his stops prior to Middle Tennessee included one in Orlando, as an assistant head coach and wide receiver coach at UCF from 1985-1988 under Gene McDowell. Among the wideouts Stockstill help develop included Ted Wilson, who was the first UCF receiver taken in the NFL Draft, as well as UCF Hall-of-Famers Benard Ford, Shawn Jefferson and Sean Beckton.
Stockstill was part of a staff that led UCF to the semifinals of the 1988 NCAA Division II Playoffs. He also, at one point, according to the Central Florida Future, was one of four coaches to head the UCF Men’s Tennis team during the 1986 season.
Stockstill would move on to be an assistant at Clemson (1989-2002), East Carolina (2003), and South Carolina working under Steve Spurrier (2004-2005), prior to landing the head coaching job at Middle Tennessee State, where he has led the program to 10 bowl games and 109 wins going into the 2023 season. Stockstill is a three-time conference coach of the year, winning the honor twice in the Sun Belt (2006, 2009) and once in C-USA (2018).
#11 - Cliff Godwin (Baseball)
In his three years as associate head coach at UCF, Cliff Godwin helped put the Knights on the map with the nation’s fourth-ranked recruiting class in 2010 before following with a Top 20 class in 2011. He also helped lead the Knights back to NCAA Regional action in 2011 for the first time since 2004.
In 2010, SEBaseball.com named Godwin CUSA Assistant Coach of the Year as the Knights set a new school and C-USA record with a .343 batting average, as well as school records in home runs (78) and slugging percentage (.538).
Godwin left UCF after the 2011 season to become an assistant at Ole Miss before going back to his alma mater, East Carolina, to be Head Coach in 2015. He has since led ECU to seven NCAA Regional appearances, four Super Regional appearances, four American Athletic Conference regular season titles, and three AAC Tournament titles.