UCF Conducts Press Conference to Discuss its Move to the BIG EAST


GO KNIGHTS UCF met with the media Thursday morning at Bright House Networks Stadium.
GO KNIGHTS
UCF met with the media Thursday morning at Bright House Networks Stadium.
GO KNIGHTS

Dec. 8, 2011

Knight Head Read John Denton's Knights Insider |  Twitter LogoTwitter |  Facebook LogoFacebook

By Brian Ormiston
UCFAthletics.com

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The J. Rolfe Davis Recruiting Lounge at Bright House Networks Stadium served as the location for one of the most exciting press conferences in UCF Athletics history Thursday morning. President Dr. John C. Hitt along with interim director of athletics Al Harms and the majority of UCF's head coaches were on hand as the Knights discussed its move to the BIG EAST Conference beginning with the 2013-14 season.

For a full recap from John Denton, click HERE.

Meanwhile, to access a photo gallery from Thursday's press conference, CLICK HERE.

And for comments from all of UCF's head coaches, please check out the below statements:

Football head coach George O'Leary...
"This is a great opportunity for the UCF athletics program and the university to continue reaching their goals."

Men's basketball head coach Donnie Jones...
"Our program is very excited about the move to the BIG EAST Conference. The BIG EAST has such a great tradition, and is consistently recognized as the best basketball conferences in the country. This is an exciting time to be at UCF, and this is a great opportunity for our University."

Women's basketball head coach Joi Williams...
"Joining the BIG EAST is a huge step for our athletics program. Though we are very appreciative of our time in Conference USA and the great experiences, we are extremely excited about increasing our visibility and having an opportunity to compete on a larger, national stage. The BIG EAST is home to many of the nation's elite women's basketball programs, and we hope to add to the standard of excellence both on the court and in the classroom."

Baseball head coach Terry Rooney...
"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to compete in baseball in the BIG EAST. They have an outstanding tradition of baseball programs, and we look forward to the future."

Softball head coach Renee Luers-Gillispie...
"Everyone at UCF softball is very excited to be joining the BIG EAST. They have a lot of great programs there and had three NCAA Tournament teams last year. We're unlike a lot of other schools in the country because we have the ability to practice and play outside with no problems at really any point during the season and we have a very nice facility here that we hope other teams from the BIG EAST are excited to come to during the winter months."

Men's tennis head coach Bobby Cashman...
"We are excited to be joining the BIG EAST, which includes some great tennis programs like Notre Dame, Louisville and USF. We are very familiar with many of the BIG EAST programs, and look forward to competing for championships in the conference."

Women's tennis head coach Stephanie Nickitas...
"It's very exciting news for our whole athletics department that we are moving into the BIG EAST. The move will definitely have a positive impact on our program directly. We will be playing a stronger and deeper conference schedule which will foster a higher level of competition."

Men's soccer head coach Bryan Cunningham...
"I am grateful to President Hitt, the Board of Trustees, our administration, coaches and student-athletes for all their hard work that has brought us to one of the premier conferences in the country. We are looking forward to competing in one of the best soccer conferences in the nation. I know our players are excited about this new challenge and are looking forward to the next chapter in UCF soccer history."

Women's soccer head coach Amanda Cromwell...
"I think the BIG EAST is a strong league in many different sports and women's soccer has been one of them with Notre Dame winning two national championships. It is one of the premier programs of the past 10 years. Joining a league with teams of high caliber is exciting as is competing against new teams and having new places to visit. We've done what we have wanted to do in Conference USA in respect to winning season championships. One thing we haven't done is win a conference tournament, so I guess that will be our focus for next year. We have really enjoyed our time in Conference USA, but there are great things ahead in the BIG EAST and the level of play will definitely benefit our program."

Rowing head coach Becky Cramer...
"It has been great to be a part of Conference USA and the support they have given rowing. The move to the BIG EAST will bring exciting new opportunities, and I am very excited for UCF rowing to be a part of it."

Men's golf head coach Bryce Wallor...
"This is an exciting time to be part of the continued growth of UCF as one of the nation's largest universities and now as an athletic department moving into the BIG EAST. Our team is looking forward to being a part of one of the most successful conferences in all of NCAA athletics."

Women's golf head coach Courtney Trimble...
"We are excited about the move to the BIG EAST. The exposure UCF will receive across the country will help to benefit us in many ways. We are looking forward to competing against the many great teams at the conference championship. It's an exciting time for all fans, coaches and student-athletes."

Women's track and field and cross country head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert...
"We are excited about this time of transition to a conference as established as the BIG EAST. The BIG EAST has a great tradition in cross country and for sending track and field student-athletes to the Olympic Games, and we hope to add to that legacy in the coming years. While we are grateful to Conference USA for all of the wonderful memories we made while building our program, we look forward to the new challenge of being in the BIG EAST. This is truly an exciting time to be a Knight."

Volleyball head coach Todd Dagenais...
"Conference USA has been very good to the development of our program and has given us a platform to prepare us to compete on a national stage. Moving forward, being able to go toe-to-toe with many of the prominent teams in the BIG EAST is something that our athletes are very much looking forward to. The BIG EAST is no stranger to our program. We have found ourselves across the net from many of its members in spring tournaments and in fall competition. We feel like we are ready to go into the BIG EAST in 2013 and are confident that we will be able to compete favorably."

OFFICIAL MERCHANDISE OF UCF ATHLETICS