Historic victories, nationwide publicity, a top-15 ranking and an 8-1 record. What a ride 2013 has been. And UCF head coach George O’Leary has been honored for the Knights’ success as he was named a semifinalist for the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year Award Wednesday.

The list of semifinalists includes 16 candidates which have been selected by the MFC National Selection Committee, and the field was announced by MFC President, Ron Jaworski.

It was the second accolade for Coach O’Leary this season as he was one of 20 members on The Paul Bear Bryant Coach of the Year Award Watch List announced Nov. 1.

Semifinalist voting for the Maxwell Football Club Collegiate Coach of the Year Award will begin on Nov. 21 and close Dec. 2. Finalist voting will take place from Dec. 3-15 and the winner will be announced Dec. 17. Eligible voters include MFC members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media.

Coach O’Leary and his Knights are 5-0 in the American Athletic Conference with three games remaining, including two at home against Rutgers Thursday and USF Friday, Nov. 29. UCF has posted its first victory over a Big Ten team (Penn State) and a top-10 school (then-No. 8/6 Louisville) this year en route to being ranked No. 15 in the AP Top 25 Nov. 10.

In his 10th year at UCF in 2013, Coach O’Leary has led the Knights to being bowl eligible for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Among his career accolades, Coach O’Leary is a five-time conference coach of the year (1998 and 2000 in the ACC and 2005, 2007 and 2010 in Conference USA), and was the 2000 Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year as well as the 2005 SportsIllustrated.com and CBSSports.com National Coach of the Year.

MFC Collegiate Coach of the Year Semifinalists

  • Nick Saban – Alabama
  • Gus Malzahn – Auburn
  • Art Briles – Baylor
  • Steve Addazio – Boston College
  • Dabo Swinney – Clemson
  • David Cutcliffe – Duke
  • Tim DeRuyter – Fresno State
  • Jimbo Fisher – Florida State
  • Mark Dantonio – Michigan State
  • Gary Pinkel – Missouri
  • Rod Carey – Northern Illinois
  • Urban Meyer – Ohio State
  • Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State
  • George O’Leary – UCF
  • Ed Orgeron – USC
  • Gary Anderson – Wisconsin