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1986 - Ted Wilson becomes the first Knight to be drafted by the NFL 1979 - Inaugural game vs. St. Leo 1979 • During his inaugural address, UCF President Trevor Colbourn announces that the school will “explore the possibility of developing a football program.” Later, Colbourn and director of athletics Jack O’Leary approve a decision to form a football team to begin play in the fall of 1979 as an NCAA Division III program. Former professional football player Don Jonas becomes the school’s first coach on a volunteer basis. On Aug. 28, 148 prospective players participate in the program’s first practice. Less than one month later on Sept. 22, UCF travels to St. Leo for its first game and wins 21-0. Bobby Joe Plain scores the school’s first touchdown on a 13-yard pass reception from Mike Cullison in the first quarter. The following week, UCF plays its first home contest at the Tangerine Bowl and posts a 7-6 victory over Fort Benning in front of 14,138 fans. 1981 1985 • UCF begins a local rivalry, meeting Bethune-Cookman in the first Mayor’s Trophy game. The Wildcats escape with a 24-20 win. Kicker Scott Ryerson is a third-team All-America selection, while center Dan Burke and linebackers Eddie James and Bill Giovanetti earn honorable mention status. Following the season, head coach Don Jonas resigns to become director of the UCF Gridiron Club. • Gene McDowell, an assistant at Florida State, is named UCF’s head coach and athletics director. UCF wins its first game under McDowell when Ed O’Brien kicks a school-record 55-yard field goal as time expired to defeat Bethune-Cookman, 39-37. UCF meets its first NCAA Bowl Subdivision opponent, playing at Louisville. Don Jonas 106 • The team begins the season • UCF records its first win against an 4-1. UCF sets a NCAA Football Championship Subdivi- new attendance when sion opponent, defeating Austin Peay, record 10-7 on the road. Ted Wilson returns a 23,760 watch Knights kick 100 yards for a touchdown against the Southeastern Louisiana and finishes play Wofford second in the nation in kick return aver- for Homecoming. The conage with 30.5 yards per return. Gene McDowell test features a post-game performance by the Beach Boys. The Knights went 6-5 during the year to post their • After the squad gets off to a first winning campaign slow start, head coach Lou Saban since the announces his resignation. Jerry inaugural Anderson is named interim head season coach. Following the campaign, in 1979. offensive lineman Dan Burke Linebacker signs a contract with the New Wyatt BogJersey Generals of the United gan leads States Football League. Kicker the team Scott Ryerson is drafted by with 143 the Tampa Bay Bandits of the tackles and USFL and signs a free-agent earns Footdeal with the National FootScott Ry ball News Allball League’s Atlanta Falcons. erson America First Team honors. Wide receiver Ted Wilson becomes the first UCF player selected in the National Football League Draft when the Washington Redskins take him in the 10th round. Tailback Elgin Davis is picked in the 12th round by the New England Patriots. 1983 1980 • After the UCF Athletic Authority votes in January to make the football head coaching job a fulltime position, Don Jonas is selected for the role. The Knights win four games during the campaign and in an 18-14 victory over Emory and Henry, Michael O’Shaughnessy tallies a school-record five sacks. Following the season, cornerback Tim Kiggins earns third-team All-America honors and becomes the first UCF player to sign a professional contract when he joins the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. 1986 Mike Cullison Michael O’Shaughnessy 1982 • Following Don Jonas’ resignation, associate head coach Sam Weir is named the program’s interim head coach. New athletics director Bill Peterson announces that UCF will compete as a Division II program during the year. With the move to D-II, the school begins awarding athletics scholarships. Following the season, four Knights sign professional contracts: tight end Mike Cater with the National Football League’s Denver Broncos and defensive end Ed Gantner, linebacker Bill Giovanetti and offensive lineman Mike Sommerfield with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League. Following the season, New York Yankees president and former Buffalo Bills head coach Lou Saban is named UCF’s head coach. 1984 Ed O’Brien


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