Alan Gooch

Alan Gooch

Event:
Football: 1983-2003

Hall of Fame:
Class of 2006

UCF Athletics Hall of Fame member Alan Gooch, who gave 25 years of service to the UCF football program, is presently the Executive Director of the Orlando Sports Foundation, who goal is to bring a college football bowl game to the UCF campus and Bright House Networks Stadium. Additionally, the Bowl's goal is to create awareness and additional financial resource for breast cancer research.

Gooch began his tenure with the Knights as a defensive back in 1981 before spending 22 season as a member of the coaching staff. He started his coaching career as UCF's recruiting coordinator in 1983. During his eight years at the position, he aided the program's transition from Division II through I-AA and into I-A status. He was named assistant head coach in 1998 and took over as interim head coach at the end of the 2003 season.

On the field, Gooch guided the secondary for his first few years then took over coaching the linebackers. In 1986, he became responsible for the running backs. Over the next 17 years, all 31 running backs finished their eligibility and received degrees from UCF.

During the 1997 season, Gooch earned national attention working with running back Dwight Collins, who is deaf. Collins received Walt Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award for being the nation's most courageous athlete and was honored, with Gooch at his side, by President Bill Clinton in a White House ceremony for winning the Giant Steps award, presented by the National Consortium for Academics and Sports.

That same year, Gooch himself was named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association, earning a $5,000 scholarship for UCF. He was also a finalist, along with North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and Grambling football coach Eddie Robinson, for the Giant Steps award in the coaching category, where he finished runner-up to Robinson.

Gooch's also played a key role in the continued development of running back Alex Haynes. As a sophomore in 2002, Haynes became the fifth back in UCF history to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau with 1,038 yards on the ground and left UCF as the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,359 career rushing yards.

In fact, Gooch's athletes - which also include All-American running back and UCF Athletics Hall of Fame members Willie English and Marquette Smith - own all of the school's rushing records outside of those held by quarterbacks. English was the first at UCF to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season, while Smith became the first player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season twice before being drafted by the NFL"s Carolina Panthers in the fifth round. Gooch has also coached former professionals Elgin Davis and Aaron Sam.

Gooch himself was rewarded for his contribution to the Knights' football program when he was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.

Gooch, who earned both his bachelor's degree in physical education and master's degree in exercise physiology from UCF, gave back to his alma mater off the field. He served as the UCF Lettermen's Club (K-Club) president for three terms and also spent time on the UCF Alumni Board of Directors. For his work in the community and commitment to UCF, the UCF Alumni Association awarded Coach Gooch with its annual Service to UCF award in November of 1998.

After leaving the coaching profession in 2004, Gooch spent over a year as the executive director of the Golden Knights Club before entering the private business sector.

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