Trevor Colbourn: the man who started UCF football
Former UCF president Trevor Colbourn loved to see the players' faces.
So much so that when he helped start the UCF football program in 1979, the same year the team played in the Citrus Bowl, head coach Gene McDowell had the Knights line the visitor's sideline during the team's games.
To fans, such as Manny Messeguer, this was troublesome. Messeguer, who was a friend of Colbourn, took action high above the Florida panhandle while piloting the university president back to Orlando from a meeting in Tallahassee.
"When I leveled out, Dr. Colbourn and I got to talking and he said, 'Manny I really appreciate all you do for UCF and picking me up. If there was anything I can ever do for you, feel free to ask me,'" Messeguer explained. "So I said, 'Dr. Colbourn there is one thing you can do for me. You need to talk to Gene McDowell, he has us on the wrong side of the field. Everybody in football sits on the home field and I don't know why he does that.'"
Messeguer continued, "The next day I got a call from Gene McDowell and he said, 'I just left Colbourn's office, and he's telling me I have the team on the wrong side and I'm supposed to be on the home side!' We laughed about that for years and we still do."
Colbourn died Monday in Winter Park at the age of 87, and leaves behind a legacy that can be seen each time the UCF football team takes the field. In his Inauguration Speech, he promised a football program and later changed the university's name.
UCF was previously known as Florida Technological University when Colbourn became present in 1978, succeeding Charles Millican. After recognizing how much the university had grown, Colbourn renamed the institution that same year to the University of Central Florida.
During his tenure, in addition to giving the team we now know as the UCF Knights their start, Colbourn created an honors program, known today as the Burnett Honors College.
"Trevor blazed trails for UCF, from giving us our name to the leap of faith that led to a nationally prominent football program," UCF President John C. Hitt said in a release.
Christian Clausen and Frank Kujawa, UCF's longest-working professors worked under Colbourn and remembered him fondly in a previous interview with the Central Florida Future. The president, who was known as Trevor by all, could often be seen sitting on a bench on campus smoking a cigar.
Even after retiring as president in 1988, Colbourn remained active as a history teacher and the university's historian.
To honor Colbourn, the UCF Humanities and Fine Arts Building was renamed to Colbourn Hall in 2001.
Marina Guerges, Ryan Gillespie and Caroline Glenn are editorial staff members at the Central Florida Future. They can be reached at breakingnews@CentralFloridaFuture.com.