There was something much different about this UCF tour stop. A buzz, an excitement and a promise of a bright future.
The three new coaches made a stop at Coconuts on the Beach in Cocoa Wednesday evening, and the message was simple: If you are looking for a team to root for, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.
The Brevard County visit was the second stop on the first-ever Charge On Tour. Just last night, White and his new coaches met with fans in Downtown Orlando.
“I think it’s a gold mine of an opportunity for an athletic director, for our coaches and for our student-athletes and recruits," new Athletics Director Danny White said. "We all have an opportunity to build the nation’s next elite athletic department and top 25 athletic department across the board, and that’s a unique opportunity. I thinks it’s inevitable that we will compete at the very highest levels of college athletics and compete at the national level in all sports because of all the competitive advantages we have.”
His recent hires echo those words as football coach Scott Frost, men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins and women’s basketball coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson all signed autographs, met and talked with the fans who packed into Coconuts.
“I just see a lot of potential in UCF and it is something I wanted to be a part of. If there is a chance for a meaningful opportunity, this is it,” Dawkins said. “What we do know can be really meaningful down the road, trying to establish a tradition, establish a culture. That is exciting for me and I want to be a part of something like that.”
Dawkins has been on the job about six weeks, but the tour stops are important to him and the rest of the coaches in attendance.
“The tour is great, to get out in the community and meet people, this is what it is about,” Dawkins said. “I always say we are not going to do it by ourselves, we do it with the support we have. That means not only the players and staff, but the fans and the community. So I think it is important for us to get out and let them hear our story, learn about us.”
Those stories are some good ones as all three of the new hires have had success both as players and coaches.
It is part of the buzz around not only Coconuts, but all over Central Florida.
“There has been so much enthusiasm and excitement around the program since I got here, but events like this help that,” Frost said. “I think we have a chance to do something special at UCF the next couple of years and we want people to join us.”
As for any talk of moving to the Big 12 or anywhere else, White said it all comes back to nights like Wednesday.
“We need to focus on the things that we can control, the fan base," White said. "If we all focus what we can control and that is building our season ticket base, building our attendance numbers, getting people to come to games and showing the rest of the country the gold mine that UCF is, by the support that we have, we are going to have all kinds of options. Who knows what we will even be calling conferences in 10 years, so let’s just have some fun and win some championships.”
Remaining tour stops
May 19 - Tampa at Jackson's Bistro
May 23 - Jacksonville at EverBank Field
May 24 - Palm Beach at Brother Jimmy's
May 25 - Broward County at America's Backyard