1 On 1
Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White and Head Football Coach Scott Frost discuss being the new guys, learning the important lessons and their big plans for the future of UCF Athletics.
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Meet Danny White
- Granger, Indiana
- Alma maters
- University of Notre Dame, B.A. in business administration
- Ohio University, M.B.A. and M.A. in sports administration
- University of Mississippi, currently working toward a Ph.D. in higher education
- Playing time
- 1998–2001 Guard, Towson University
- 2001–02 Guard, University of Notre Dame
- 2006–07 Assistant athletics director for development, Northern Illinois University
- 2007–09 Associate athletics director for development, California State University, Fresno
- 2009–12 Senior associate athletics director, University of Mississippi
- 2012–15 Director of athletics, State University of New York at Buffalo
Meet Scott Frost
- Wood River, Nebraska
- Alma mater
- University of Nebraska, B.S. in finance
- Playing time
- 1993–94 Quarterback, Stanford University
- 1995–97 Quarterback, University of Nebraska (1997 National Championship)
- 1998–2000 Safety, New York Jets
- 2001 Safety, Cleveland Browns
- 2001–02 Green Bay Packers
- 2003 San Francisco 49ers
- 2003–04 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 2007 Linebackers coach, University of Northern Iowa
- 2008 Co-defensive coordinator, University of Northern Iowa
- 2009–12 Wide receivers coach, University of Oregon
- 2013–15 Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, University of Oregon
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Excerpt from video interview
Danny White: Scott, I know it’s been a whirlwind. You’ve been here for a few weeks. What excites you most about UCF?
Scott Frost: I think the potential of this place. I look around, and I see resources and things that are in place on this campus, this university [and] this athletic department that I think we can use to make this place special. I think the sky’s the limit.
SF: What excites you most about being here?
DW: It’s a gold mine. … All the pieces are in place to really compete at a national level in all sports, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
SF: How will you grow community engagement and support?
DW: We’ve got to reach out to our fan base, our alumni and our community. There have been a lot of people that have been a big part of building [UCF Athletics] to the place we are right now. I want those people to be involved in what our plan for the future is. So for the next few months, we’ll have those conversations and build together a compelling vision for where we want to take our entire athletics department — and certainly our football program.
DW: From a coach’s perspective, what’s the optimal role for our students, our fans and our alumni? How can they help us build a nationally elite football program?
SF: I think everybody needs to be involved to make this one big family. I’m putting together a staff and will continue to add football players to our program. They’re all going to feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. I want the fans, the former players, the alumni and the community to feel the same way.
SF: How do you define student-athlete success?
DW: Our obligation to our student-athletes is to develop them as men and women who are ready to be successful in life. That’s number one.
SF: In a state rich with college athletics tradition, how can UCF stand out?
DW: I think we’ve stood out as a university for a lot of years, not only within the state of Florida but also nationally as that innovative, entrepreneurial university that’s very quickly become one of the largest universities in the country. As an athletics department, we need to follow suit. I want [us] to be the most innovative, entrepreneurial athletic department, not only in Florida but across the country — and one that people really look to as a trendsetter in everything that we do.
DW: We have similar competitive careers. I’m the leading 3-point field goal percentage shooter in Notre Dame history, and you’re a national championship quarterback. You may have gotten a few more minutes’ play than I did, but how has playing quarterback prepared you to be a coach?
SF: I think a college athletics career can prepare you for a lot of things, whether you stay in sports or not — the ability to learn to compete and the ability to work hard to accomplish goals. Those things will serve you well no matter where you go. Being a quarterback, especially, you’re the leader on the field. You have to know what everybody’s doing, and you have to try to motivate and get everybody on the same page. All those things relate really well to the job a coach has to do.
SF: How did playing collegiate basketball make you a better athletics director?
DW: I learned how to work hard, how to compete for goals, and I took a lot of pride in how hard I worked as an athlete in high school and college.… I think that set the tone for my career.
DW: From your playing career, [is] there an experience you can draw upon where you overcame a challenge that helps you in your current task of rebuilding our football program?
SF: If I had to pick one, it’d be my first year playing as a quarterback at the University of Nebraska. I transferred to Nebraska from another institution, and my first year playing as a starting quarterback, Nebraska had won two straight national championships. We went 11 and 2 my junior year, which would be a great success in a lot of places. At Nebraska, at the time, that was seen as a colossal failure. That taught me to understand expectations. It taught me to block out a lot of the noise that comes from the outside and make sure that I was doing my job well. Frankly, that’s where I developed a lot of the perseverance that’s required of any coach or any successful person to see a job through despite any temporary successes or failures.
DW: How do you motivate players on and off the field?
SF: I think the best way to motivate anyone is to develop a relationship with them and inspire them. Kids these days, they know if you care about them or not, and they see through you fast if you don’t. These guys at UCF are going to know that every coach on my staff cares about them, not just as a football player but as a person.
DW: What did you learn by being coached by both of your parents?
SF: My dad has been a football coach for 30-some-odd years. Mom’s been an assistant football coach for almost as long. I suppose the first thing I learned is that there [are] some women out there that can throw balls better than most guys. I love my parents’ coaching style. … They demanded a lot out of us, but they did it in the right way. … Another valuable lesson I learned is not to take it home too much. … To stay healthy, I think there has to be a little bit of a separation between your professional life and your personal life, and mom and dad were really good at that.
SF: I already call you “boss.” I understand you’re pursuing your doctoral degree. When can I start calling you “doctor”?
DW: My adviser would say in June, but there’s a lot of work to do here, so the job comes first. I’m excited about finishing the degree. I’ve been working on it for a long time. I think it’s important — if I’m going to be the leader of a substantial unit on a university campus — that I have a terminal degree. That’s something that’s always been important to me, and it’s also an area that I’m really interested in — intercollegiate athletics from a philanthropic standpoint.
DW: What are you most excited about living here in Central Florida?
SF: The first thing is the people that I’m already getting to work with. From day one … they’ve welcomed us with open arms. Secondly, I can’t believe how many recruits live right here close to Orlando. I was at Oregon the past seven years, and we had to fly 3,000 miles in some cases to get football players to come play for us. We’ve got those guys in our backyard now, and I’m excited about that potential.
SF: What about living in Orlando excites you most?
DW: The job, first and foremost. … I’ve always been excited about the prospect of building something, and there’s no ceiling [to] where we can take UCF Athletics. I’m obviously excited about living in the best weather in the world, where there are palm trees everywhere and my kids will grow up with sun on their faces.
SF: What was your kids’ reaction when you told them they were moving near Walt Disney World?
DW: Actually, we said Mickey Mouse was going to be their next-door neighbor, and it was a carnival in the kitchen. They were pretty excited. It was not a hard sell.