helmetUCF head coach George O’Leary announced on Thursday that the top defense in Conference USA, and the nation’s fourth best rushing defense in 2009, will be bolstered by the veteran tutelage of John Skladany who returns to Orlando as the Knights’ linebackers coach and special teams assistant.

“I am very excited to be returning to UCF and coach O’Leary,” said Skladany. “I am looking forward to being a part of this rising program.”

“John was one of many applicants for this job and I am very pleased to hire a experienced coach who has been involved in many defensive schemes,” said O’Leary.

Skladany served as UCF’s defensive coordinator in 2007, helping the Knights to the only conference title in school history and a berth in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Knights had five All-C-USA picks on defense that year in Joe Burnett, Leger Douzable, Bruce Miller, Sha’reff Rashad and Keith Shologan. Burnett, Douzable and Rashad have all made NFL rosters while Douzable plays professionally in Canada and Miller, a rising senior, was the 2009 C-USA Defensive Player of the Year.

Skladany has spent the past two seasons at C-USA rival Houston, helping the Cougars to a pair of bowl appearances and the 2009 West Division Championship.