Jim Fleming joined UCF in December 2011 as the Knights' linebackers coach, and was named defensive coordinator in January 2012. He previously spent 2010 with the Kent State linebackers, and was Akron's defensive coordinator from 2004-09.
In his 27th season overall as a collegiate coach in 2013, Fleming and the defense produced a solid 2012 campaign when the Knights went 10-4, won the C-USA East Division and added a victory in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl. Four players picked up conference honors, highlighted by safety Kemal Ishmael being named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year. Meanwhile, defensive end Troy Davis was placed on the All-C-USA First Team, cornerback A.J. Bouye grabbed a spot on the second team and lineman Deion Green was voted on to the all-freshman team.
UCF ultimately went on to rank first in C-USA in scoring and pass defense, as well as second in total defense and pass efficiency defense.
In the 2013 NFL Draft, Ishmael represented the Knights in the seventh round when he was selected by Atlanta, while Bouye, Davis, Cam Henderson and Ray Shipman all signed free-agent deals.
Fleming's linebackers at Kent State prospered all season long in 2010. Middle linebacker Cobrani Mixon earned a spot on the All-Mid-American Conference First Team by collecting 11.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and 82 overall tackles, while All-MAC Third Team selection Dorian Wood led the Golden Flashes with 96 tackles and had 11.5 tackles for loss. And Luke Batton delivered 68 tackles at the other outside linebacker position.
Fleming ventured to Kent State following six campaigns at Akron, and along with serving as the Zips' defensive coordinator, he also mentored the safeties. Under Fleming, the defense produced four All-MAC honorees, including the league's second-leading tackler in freshman Brian Wagner and just the program's second three-time All-MAC selection in Almondo Sewell. Fleming's defenses at Akron consistently performed among the nation's best, ranking 32nd in total defense in 2005 when the Zips claimed their first MAC Championship and bowl bid, and 31st in passing defense in 2009.
Prior to Akron, Fleming spent two years (2002-03) as the defensive backs coach at North Carolina. That stint came after two seasons as the head coach of Sacred Heart where he led the Pioneers to a 21-1 record, including a perfect 11-0 mark in 2001 that earned the Sports Network's Division I-AA mid-major national championship. During their championship run, the Pioneers ranked second in the nation in scoring, pass efficiency and turnover margin, fourth in total defense and seventh in scoring defense and passing yards allowed. Fleming was named the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year in 2000 and 2001 after Sacred Heart won only two games in the season prior to his arrival. In his first season at the school he led a turnaround from 2-9 in 1999, to 10-1 and a No. 5 national ranking in 2000.
A native of New York, N.Y., Fleming also spent two years as defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Villanova (1998-99) and four years (1994-97) coaching linebackers (1994) and defensive backs (1995-97) at East Carolina. His 1997 squad ranked second in Conference USA in pass defense, while in 1995, the Pirates finished 9-3 and earned a berth in the Liberty Bowl where they defeated Stanford, 19-13. That season, the ECU defense ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency defense, producing 33 takeaways and 19 interceptions.
Fleming spent the 1993 campaign as the defensive coordinator at Brown where the team went from 0-10 and last place in the Ivy League, to 4-6 and a tie for fourth place in the conference. From 1987-92, he had a successful six-year stretch at Boise State, including the final three seasons as defensive coordinator. His 1991 Broncos' defense led the nation in rushing defense and was third in turnover margin, and led the Big Sky Conference in every statistical category. In 1990, BSU finished 10-4 and advanced to the semifinals of the Division I-AA playoffs, leading the conference in scoring defense.
Fleming is a 1982 graduate of the University of the South with a degree in English. While there, he was a four-year starter in football and baseball, earning all-conference honors as a tight end in 1981. Fleming began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at South Carolina in 1985.
He and his wife, Leslie, have four children, Jimmy, Will, Kate and Meg. Will is currently a tight end/fullback for Akron where he posted four receptions in 2011 and two more in 2012.