A lot has changed since the world emerged from the COVID-19 lockdowns, which was the last time we ranked the Top 100 Male Athletes in UCF history.
In just three years, many legends cemented their status in his final few seasons, while others were born, and for a few athletes, their stories have been rediscovered.
With UCF getting ready for its first year as a member of the Big 12 (and Men’s Soccer for its first season in the Sun Belt), it’s once again time to count down the Top 100 Male UCF Knights athletes of all time.
Criteria used to create this list include:
- A player’s impact on their respective sport and on the school
- What accomplishments have they had after their UCF career
- What accolades have they received
We made sure to include at least one athlete from every current UCF sport.
Now, let’s begin the countdown:
#100 - Marcus Jordan (Basketball)
Jordan played at UCF from 2009-2012, Jordan scored 1,152 points in his career which ranks 16th all-time. During Jordan’s freshman year, UCF was in the final year of a five-year contract with Adidas, but Jordan insisted on wearing Nike Air Jordan shoes out of loyalty to his father, NBA legend Micheal Jordan. This eventually prompted Adidas to terminate its sponsorship deal with UCF.
T-#99 - Matt Bowser (Baseball)
Matt Bowser started his UCF Baseball career with a bang with a Freshman All-America selection to go alongside his All-ASUN 3rd Team selection in 1998.
From then, Bowser went on to hit the seventh-most home runs (35), the eighth-most RBIs (160), and the fourth-highest slugging percentage (.591) in program history.
Bowser was selected to the All-ASUN First Team in 1999 and 2000, the latter of which culminated in an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Bowser was the first UCF player selected in the 2000 MLB Draft as the 330th overall pick.
T-#99 - Dustin Brisson (Baseball)
From that same era, Dustin Brisson has also plastered himself all over the UCF Baseball record book.
Brisson’s 41 career home runs and 200 RBIs are fourth in program history, his 486 total bases are second in program history, and his 276 hits and 172 runs are fifth in program history. Brisson’s .598 career slugging percentage sits in third in program history.
Brisson was selected as an All-ASUN 3rd Team in 1998 and to two All-ASUN first teams in 1999 and 2000.
He was drafted by the New York Mets in 1999 with the 736th overall pick, but he elected to return to UCF and was rewarded by being selected in the 2000 MLB Draft with the 452nd overall pick.
T-#98 - Andrew Rice (Golf)
The UCF Men’s Golf team did not have to wait too long to make its postseason debut in the Division I era. Playing from 1987-1991, Andrew Rice spearheaded a group of golfers that brought the program its first appearances in NCAA Regionals in 1989, 1990, and 1991 and NCAA Championships in 1990 and 1991. He was also named a Second Team All-American in 1991.
On the way to that first NCAA Championship appearance in the 1989-1990 season, Rice and the Knights recorded six tournaments as a team, with five of those wins coming in consecutive tournaments in March and April 1990. Both feats still remain program records today.
Rice ranks eighth in program history in career scoring average (72.79). He also picked up three individual victories as a Knight: the 1987 Florida Fun-N-Sun Intercollegiate, the 1990 Forest Hills Invitational, and the 1990 State of Florida Championship. Those wins tie him for the third-most individual wins in program history.
Since his departure from UCF, Rice has become known as the ‘everyday golfers coach.’ He self-published a golf instructional book in 2009, became a GolfPass instructor, and was ranked in Golf Digest’s 50 Top Teachers in America in 2019. He currently serves as the Director of Instruction at The Club at Savannah Harbor in Georgia.
T-#98 - Hans Strom-Olsen (Golf)
Also playing for the Knights during this stretch was Hans Strom-Olsen, who played from 1988-1992 and had never once missed an NCAA Regional and was with the Knights during their three consecutive seasons in the NCAA Championship from 1990-1992.
Strom-Olsen found success in his final two seasons with the team. He was named an Honorable Mention All-American in 1991 and then Second-Team All-American in 1992. Between March 1991-April 1992, he picked up all five of his individual victories he’d get as a Knight: the 1991 Imperial Lakes Classic, the 1991 and 1992 SE Intercollegiate, the 1992 Pepsi Invitational, and the 1992 Billy Hitchcock Intercollegiate. He is tied for second-most individual wins in program history with Robert Damron.
#97 - Johnny Travale (Golf)
Hailing from Canada, Johnny Travale just recently finished his UCF career, which spanned from 2019-2023. While he may not have as many victories or NCAA Championship appearances as other golfers on this list, Travale earns his spot among UCF’s golfing greats based on his reliability and consistency. He holds the lowest career scoring average in program history at 71.52 strokes. He also joins the likes of Greg Eason and Ricardo Gouveia as UCF golfers that have two seasons ranked in the Top 10 on the program’s single-season scoring average list.
Despite his freshman season ending prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Travale was named to the AAC All-Conference team three times, twice unanimously, and appeared in an NCAA Regionals three times, once as part of the Knights and twice as an individual.
Travale has three individual tournament victories to his name, tying for the third-most in program history: the 2019 Tavistock Collegiate, the 2021 Hartford Hawks Invitational, and the 2021 Carolina Collegiate Invitational.
Travale has already made a couple of starts as an amateur on the PGA Tour, competing in the 2022 and 2023 RBC Canadian Open. He ranks No. 39 on the PGA Tour University Ranking.
T-#96 - Randy DeShield (Soccer)
One of UCF Men’s Soccer’s first offensive stars, Randy DeShield’s 56 career goals and 126 points between 1976-1979 both stand as the second-most in program history, with only Heikki Ritvanen having surpassed him in the decades since.
DeShield was named to the NSCAA All-South Region team twice, in 1977 and 1979, and was named to the All-Sunshine State team in 1979, the same season the Knights captured its first Sunshine State Conference Tournament Championship.
T-#96 - Ari Nurmi (Soccer)
Coming in right behind DeShield on both the career goal and point lists is Ari Nurmi, who played for the Knights from 1996-1999.
Despite being four-year teammates with Heikki Ritvanen, there were plenty of scoring opportunities for Nurmi since he finished with 47 career goals, the third-most in program history. However, he also has the second-most career assists in program history with 28.
While Nurmi could not pass DeShield on the career points list, his 122 points were only four points shy.
Nurmi was named to the All-ASUN Second Team twice (1996 and 1999) and the All-ASUN Third Team once (1998).
T-#95 - Zach Rodgers (Baseball)
Rodgers was one of the most versatile UCF pitchers of all time as he started on mid-weeks, weekends, in long relief, and even closed games. He became an All-American after the 2015 season, in which he went 10-1 with a 2.35 ERA, and was a unanimous all-conference first-team selection.
In 2014, Rodgers had five saves and a 7-1 record on the season. Rodgers ranks second all-time in career ERA (1.91) and is one of only two UCF pitchers to have a career ERA under 2.
T-#95 - Robby Howell (Baseball)
The last time the UCF Baseball team was in an NCAA Regional in 2017, Robby Howell led the charge on the mound. During that season, which saw the Knights also win an AAC title, Howell was named a Second-Team All-American, AAC Pitcher of the Year, and All-AAC First Team. It was his second All-AAC designation after getting selected to the All-AAC Second Team in 2016.
Across his career, spanning 2014-2017, Howell tied a program record with 50 starts and pitched 317.1 innings, the 5th-most in program history. He recorded a 2.65 ERA (5th-lowest in program history), 236 career strikeouts (6th-most in program history) and 26 wins (4th-most in program history).
Howell was selected in the 10th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
#94 - Siaha Burley (Football)
Burley caught 165 passes for 2,248 yards and 15 touchdowns in his two seasons at UCF (1997-1998). Burley would go on to have a long and distinguished career in arena football from 2001-2012 which included getting named AFL Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Arena selection with the Utah Blaze in 2007. He began coaching arena football in 2011 and become head coach of the Jacksonville Sharks midway through the 2017 season, taking the team to an NAL championship. He would win another NAL Championship with the Sharks in 2019.
#93 - Romario Williams (Soccer)
Hailing from Jamaica, Romario Williams was named the 2013 AAC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-AAC in 2013 and 2014. He was the 3rd pick overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft by the Montreal Impact. He would later win the 2018 MLS Cup Championship with Atlanta United.
T-#92 - J.J. Worton (Football)
Worton finished fifth all-time at UCF in receptions (168) and ninth in receiving yards (2,360) during his Knights career (2011-2014). He was part of UCF’s AAC Championship team in 2013 and three bowl teams overall (‘12-’14).
Plus, you know, this:
T-#92 - Jimmy Fryzel (Football)
Fryzel finished his collegiate career with 137 receptions for 2,469 yards and 10 touchdowns from 1999-2002. He and Doug Gabriel were the dynamic duo for a UCF team that came just five points short of a division championship in their first season in the MAC.
#91 - Elton Patterson (Football)
Elton Patterson ranks 4th all-time at UCF in career sacks (30.5) and is the Knights’ all-time leader in tackles for loss (59.5). Patterson was drafted in the 7th round of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals. Patterson played in the NFL with the Bengals (2003-2004), Minnesota Vikings (2005), and Jacksonville Jaguars on two separate occasions (2004 and 2006). Patterson also played in the Arena Football League, Canadian Football League, and NFL Europe.