Jim Panagos is in his fifth campaign in Orlando in 2011, serving as UCF's defensive line coach. He came to the Knights after spending four years as an assistant in the National Football League. During his time in Orlando, Panagos has helped UCF to
three bowl-game appearances.
UCF's defense consistently ranked in the top-25 nationally in rushing, passing, total and scoring defense in 2011. Opponents combined for only nine rushing touchdowns on the Knights, which tied for the fewest rushing TDs given up in a season.
Meanwhile, UCF surrendered 108.8 rushing yards a game. Since the program's inception in 1979, the Knights' top-three seasons for rushing defense have all occurred in the last three years under Panagos.
In 2010, his defensive line helped UCF achieve great success as the squad went 11-3. The Knights went 7-1 in league play and claimed the Conference USA Championship title. UCF entered the national rankings for the first time and picked up its first bowl win with a 10-6 triumph over Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
UCF ranked in the top 10 nationally in both rushing and scoring defense. Leading the position group was Bruce Miller, who was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year for the second-straight season. Miller was selected by San Francisco in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Miller graduated as the nation's active leader with 35.5 career sacks and ranked third with 57.5 career tackles for loss. Fellow defensive ends Darius Nall and David Williams also garnered accolades from C-USA. Nall was an All-C-USA Second Team pick, while Williams earned honorable mention all-conference recognition. Defensive tackle Victory Gray was named to the league's all-freshman team.
After the season, Panagos was selected as a national all-star assistant by Rivals.com. Popular coaching website FootballScoop.com named Panagos its national defensive line coach of the Year in 2009 after a season in which the Knights led Conference USA in several defensive categories en route to a berth in the St. Petersburg Bowl. UCF's 82.8 yards per game in rushing defense ranked fourth in the nation behind only Alabama, Texas and TCU, all of which played in BCS bowls. Miller (13) and Jarvis Geathers (11) both hit double digits in sacks while tackle Torell Troup was an early second round NFL Draft pick by the Buffalo Bills. Miller was named the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2008, UCF's defensive line was one of the strongest in the country. The group helped the Knights rank first in C-USA in three categories - rushing defense, pass efficiency defense and tackles for loss. UCF recorded 8.62 tackles for loss per game, good for third in the country. The team ranked second in C-USA in total defense, holding foes to just 333.75 yards a contest. Troup garnered a spot on the All-C-USA Second Team.
UCF experienced immediate success in Panagos' first year, going 10-4 in 2007, winning the C-USA Championship crown and participating in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Knights' defensive front showed great improvement during the season. The squad recorded 39 sacks on the season, which ranked first in C-USA and 24th nationally.
Panagos helped three Knights gain individual honors during the campaign. Leger Douzable (49 tackles, 7.5 sacks) was an All-C-USA First Team pick and fellow senior defensive lineman Keith Shologan (33 tackles, 2.5 sacks) was named to the all-league second team. Miller totaled 38 tackles and 7.0 sacks and was named to the All-C-USA Freshman Team.
Both Douzable (Minnesota) and Shologan (San Diego) signed free-agent contracts with NFL squads. Shologan was also the fourth overall selection in the Canadian Football League Draft by Saskatchewan.
Prior to moving to Orlando, Panagos was on Minnesota's staff in the NFL. In 2005, he served as the Vikings' assistant defensive line and assistant special teams coach. During the 2004 campaign, Panagos helped rookies Spencer Johnson and Darrion Scott take on starting roles at defensive tackle and defensive end, respectively. Panagos worked with Kevin Williams that season as the all-pro led all NFL defensive tackles with 11.5 sacks.
Panagos joined the Minnesota staff in 2002 as the defensive quality control assistant. He contributed to the Vikings' record-breaking season on the ground. For the first time in team history, the Vikings led the NFL in rushing with 2,507 yards.
From 1989-92, Panagos was a defensive lineman at Maryland. A two-time letterwinner, he holds the school single-season record for blocked kicks with five in 1992. That same season, he led the Terrapins in sacks (5) and tackles for loss (12).
In 1993, he began his coaching career as the assistant defensive line coach at his alma mater. Before joining the Terrapins, Panagos spent four years teaching mathematics and coaching football, as well as several other sports, at the C.R. James Alternative School in Tampa, Fla. He also volunteered with Tampa's YMCA football program.
Panagos worked in sales for the Safelite auto glass company from 1994-97. He earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Maryland in 1993.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he attended East Islip High School on Long Island, where he earned first-team all-state honors in football. Panagos and his wife Maureen have three children: Jack, Hayden and Olivia.
UCF, 2007-Present Defensive Line
Minnesota Vikings, 2002-05 Defensive Line Assistant/Special Teams Assistant (2004-05), Defensive Quality Control Assistant (2003), Offensive Quality Control Assistant (2002)
C.R. James (Fla.) Alternative School, 1994-97 Assistant Coach
Maryland, 1993 Defensive Line Assistant