Missouri State's offensive coordinator Mario Verduzco was named UCF's quarterbacks coach, Athletics announced Tuesday morning, making him the latest hire under new head football coach Scott Frost.
Former interim head coach Danny Barrett, who took the helm after former head coach George O'Leary's retirement, served in the quarterbacks coaching role for one year. It's unclear if he'll be affected by this new hire.
With 39 years of coaching experience under his belt, the Pittsburgh, California, native previously worked alongside Frost at Northern Iowa, where he served as quarterbacks coach from 2001-14 and co-offensive coordinator from 2006-14.
“When I became a quarterback coach again after coaching a lot of other positions, Mario was the first one I went to in order to brush up on quarterback fundamentals and coaching the position,” Frost said in a release. “He’s the best I’ve ever been around in terms of getting a quarterback ready to play. A lot of the things I taught (Oregon quarterbacks) Marcus Mariota and Vernon Adams were what I learned from Mario.”
Before that, he coached at Rutgers, De Anza College, San Jose State, Gavilan College and Soquel High School.
With the Panthers, Verduzco mentored seven quarterbacks who received all-conference accolades a total of 13 times. Five of those were named either the league's freshman or newcomer of the year. Verduzco standout Eric Sanders was a 2007 Walter Payton Award finalist and the MVFC Offensive Player of the Year, with a career-finish ranked as the No. 1 all-time among FCS quarterbacks.
Quarterbacks were a hot topic for the Knights this season. Starting quarterback Justin Holman took a helmet to his throwing hand against Stanford, leaving true freshman Bo Schneider and redshirt freshman Tyler Harris to pick up the slack. The junior had recovered by the Civil Conflict against UConn, but interceptions quickly became a theme of gameplay.
It wasn't too long ago, though, that a star quarterback was the topic of conversation at UCF. After leading the Knights to a conference championship and upset over Baylor at the Fiesta Bowl, Blake Bortles became the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, going to the Jacksonville Jaguars. And just the other day, he broke the Jags' single-season passing touchdown record.
Verduzco has coached four quarterbacks who've gone on to play in the NFL.
Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.