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UCF coach George O'Leary dismisses retirement rumors


Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles' old coach, George O'Leary, is typically pretty busy on Sundays during the college football season. Despite a report that he was seriously considering giving himself a lot more time to watch his protégé in the NFL, the Knights' head man dismissed talk that he's set to retire.

On Saturday, FOX Sports reported that O'Leary, 68, was strongly considering stepping down as head coach, possibly right after UCF plays Penn State in Dublin, Ireland for its opener.

"I don't know anything about that stuff and where that came from," O'Leary told the Orlando Sentinel. "I never spoke to anybody from Fox or anybody. I don't have any idea what that's about."

It's not a super strong denial, but a denial nevertheless.

"I'm not going to be 72 coaching, but I'm not going to start a season and not finish what I do," O'Leary later told CBS Sports. "I preach to the kids I don't quit."

O'Leary has been in Orlando for a decade and is coming off a 12-1 season that saw UCF upset Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl and finish with a top-10 ranking in the polls.

FOX Sports reported that offensive line coach Brent Key would take over for O'Leary. The program has given indications in the past that Key would be next in line for the job, but the report indicating it would happen sooner than expected came as a bit of a surprise.

"Whenever I do go, I'd like to see (Key) being shown consideration," O'Leary told CBS Sports. "But we haven't done anything that way. I haven't spoken to the AD on that stuff. My recommendation would be to not fix what's not broken. If it's broken, that's different. So you've got to win. It's not my decision. It's the AD's decision."

UCF athletic director Todd Stansbury issued a statement to local reporters saying there have been no discussions about O'Leary's successor or him stepping down. The head coach signed an extension in the offseason that goes through the 2017 season and keeps him among the highest paid head coaches in the American Athletic Conference.

The Knights enter the season at No. 31 in the College Football 24/7 team rankings and they will be gunning for a second straight AAC title in 2014. The biggest question surrounding UCF is who will replace Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in this year's draft. O'Leary has said in the past week that the team is close to announcing a starter at quarterback. Sophomore Justin Holman and freshman Pete DiNovo are competing for the job, and the race isn't quite over.

Either way, it doesn't seem as though O'Leary will be coaching the Knights for too much longer. Even if he doesn't retire in the next month or so, no one will be surprised if this is his last season in Orlando.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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