We continue our #UCF250 series with our Top 30 UCF assistant coaches of all-time. We highlight coaches who were or are under the radar as an assistant coach or coordinator that has helped helped UCF teams have success, and some have gone on to great success elsewhere.
#30 - Dang Pibulvech (Men’s & Women’s Soccer)
Dang Pibulvech was assistant coach for Jim Rudy for the Men’s and Women’s Soccer program from 1981-1983, helping build both programs. He was part of the UCF Knights Women’s Soccer staff that made it to the National Championship in 1982, and helped the Men’s team to the NCAA Tournament at the same time.
He would go on to start up four soccer programs, and become head coach at Colorado College (1983-1991), Washington (1991-1994), Texas (1994-1999), and Nevada (2000-2004).
#29 - Jeff Chakouian (Track and Field)
Jeff Chakouian spent eight seasons (2006-2013) 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 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 at the outdoors by a non-BCS program since 2000.
Chakouian left UCF after 2013 to become assistant coach at Baylor.
#28 - Geoff Collins ( Football)
Geoff Collins made an impact in his short time at UCF (2008-2009). He was the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator in his two seasons, and was part of Knights’ 2009 defensive staff that went 8-5 and reach the St. Pete Bowl. Collins’ impact was felt after as he helped bring in Josh Robinson, Troy Davis, Kemal Ishmael, Latavius Murray, Chris Martin, Jarvis Geathers, and Charley Hughlett during that time as recruiting coordinator.
Collins would go on to be a defensive coordinator at FIU (2010), Mississippi State (2011-2014) and Florida (2015-2016). He became a head coach for the first time in 2017 at Temple where he would lead the Owls (2017-2018) to the most successful first two seasons by a head coach in Temple’s 121-year history, winning 15 games and reaching two bowl games.
Collins would be hired by former UCF Athletic Director Todd Stansbury to become the Head Coach at Georgia Tech on December 7, 2018. He is currently in his second season with they Yellow Jackets.
#27 - Michelle Chatman (Volleyball)
A former Florida Volleyball great, Chatman was part of Todd Dagenais’ staff from 2008-2015, helping in recruting the Knights’ program from the bottom to winning an AAC Championship in 2014 and making its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2003.
Chatman also served as UCF’s acting head coach twice. The Knights went 9-6 over those two stints under Chatman’s interim leadership.
#26 - Steve Sims (Women’s Golf)
I’ve been lucky to know & work with some amazing coaches who are also great people, but the ’s in my book are @EmUCF_Knights & Steve Sims of @UCF_Golf! The faith it must’ve taken to let an intern handle your PR! Thanks for all you guys do!!#ThankAUCFCoachDay pic.twitter.com/lcK53Zm9CY— Bill Morrison (@randombilliam) April 9, 2018
Since Steve Sims joined Emily Marron’s staff for the 2013-14 season, the Knights have made four NCAA Regional appearances and one NCAA National Championship appearance. UCF has also won two conference championships and has finished in the top-two for five of the six seasons he’s been there.
Sims has also been on board for 14 all-conference selections in his time at UCF. The 2018-19 season for Marron, Sims, and the Knights was one for the record books. The young 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 American 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.
#25 - Dave Huxtable (Football)
Dave Huxtable served as linebackers coach and special teams coordinator from 2004 to 2007 and defensive coordinator from 2008 to 2010 under George O’Leary. Huxtable was part of the Knights C-USA Championships in 2007 and 2010, and four bowl game appearances (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010).
He is now at Texas after serving as NC State’s defensive coordinator from 2013-2019.
T-#24 - Tahnee Balerio,Isoken Uzamere, and Nykesha Sales (Women’s Hoops)
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.
A former WNBA All-Star and one of the top players in UConn women’s basketball history, Nykesha Sales joined UCF’s coaching staff in June 2016, marking her first Division I coaching position.
In their four seasons at UCF, they have helped guide the Knights to three consecutive postseason appearances, including the program’s first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 2018-19.
#23 - 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.
Among the players who fluorished under Watson’s tutelage was shortstop Stephanie Best, who was named Atlantic Sun Player of the Year three consecutive years, as well as NFCA All-Southeast Region. Watson was part of UCF’s first two NCAA Tournament appearances (2005 and 2008) that included winning the 2005 A-Sun Championship and 2008 C-USA Championship. The Knights got within one win of a Super Regional in 2008.
Watson is currently Oklahoma’s Rowing Director of Operations for former UCF Head Rowing Coach Leanne Crain.
T-22 Kevin Norris, Robbie Laing, Vince Taylor (Men Basketball)
Kevin Norris joined the UCF men’s basketball coaching staff in March of 2016 as an assistant coach under head coach Johnny Dawkins while Robbie Laing joined the staff one month later. Vince Taylor joined the coaching staff one season later.
With Norris, Laing and Taylor on staff, the Knights have enjoyed unprecedented success, including the program’s first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament and first NCAA Tournament win, a first round victory over VCU this past season.
The Knights were a nine seed in the tourney, their highest seed in five NCAA Tournament appearances, and defeated the eighth seeded Rams, 73-58 in first-round action. UCF then nearly defeated top overall seed Duke, falling in the final seconds, 77-76.
The Knights’ 23 regular season wins matched a program Division I era record, and the team’s 24 wins overall were the fourth most in school history. UCF also cracked the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since 2011.
After Norris and Laing joined the staff at UCF, the Knights had immediate success, going 24-12 in 2016-17, doubling the team’s win total from the year before. UCF earned a bid to the NIT and made it all the way to the NIT Semifinals in New York City.
#21 - George Godsey (Football)
In his seven years at UCF, Former Georgia Tech QB George Godsey 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 after spending 2005-08 as UCF’s quarterbacks coach.
Godsey first came to UCF in the fall of 2004 as an offensive graduate assistant coach to work under his former head coach at Georgia Tech, George O’Leary. 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 Latavius Murray, who was named the MVP of both the C-USA Championship Game and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.