Resilient O'Leary directed UCF turnaround

HONOLULU -- George O'Leary doesn't worry about resumes
nowadays. He's too busy winning.

O'Leary has orchestrated one of the biggest turnarounds in
college football, leading once hapless Central Florida (8-4) to its
first ever postseason appearance Saturday against Nevada (8-3) in
the Hawaii Bowl.

A win would cap a Cinderella season for the Golden Knights and
provide a little redemption for O'Leary, who was ousted as coach of
Notre Dame in 2001 after admitting to falsifying his academic and
athletic credentials on his resume for decades.

But O'Leary, the Conference-USA coach of the year, isn't about
'I told you so' or speculating about what could have been in South
Bend, Ind.

"I don't get involved in that. I think things happen for a
reason and all I've ever done is try to do the best job with what I
have," he said Tuesday.

In his second season at UCF, the Golden Knights snapped what was
the nation's longest Division I-A losing streak at 17 games. They
went on to win eight of their next nine before losing to Tulsa
44-27 in the Conference-USA championship game in front of a record
home crowd of 51,978.

Central Florida is trying to tie the 1940 Stanford team for the
second-biggest one-season turnaround in NCAA football history.
Hawaii's 1999 team has the record with an 8½ game improvement
over its 1998 record.

While peering out at the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean from
the team's hotel in Waikiki, O'Leary seems to have officially put
the Notre Dame debacle behind him for good.

He got his dream job at Notre Dame in 2001, only to resign a
week later after his resume was questioned. His claims of having a
master's degree in education and being a three-year college player
at New Hampshire were ultimately proved untrue.

"The two things I have is perseverance and resiliency. Those
are two key words with me," said O'Leary, a two-time Atlantic
Coast Conference coach of the year at Georgia Tech.

His players are happy how it turned out and said O'Leary never
discussed what happened at Notre Dame.

"Never mentioned it. He was just about getting down to
business," UCF defensive end Paul Carrington said. "It kind of
sets an example of, you never dwell on the past."

Nevada coach Chris Ault, the Western Athletic Conference coach
of the year, joked that the turnaround was all in O'Leary's game

"I told him last night, you're a hell of a lot smarter than I
was," said Ault, who is in his 21st season with the Wolf Pack. "I
went out and won five games in our first year."