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Ducks lose Frost to Central Florida

Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost has officially been named UCF’s new head football coach.

After days of rumors and a 247Sports.com report Bowling Green coach Dino Babers would take the UCF job, Frost is set to take over the UCF football program. UCFSports.com was the first to report the news later confirmed by multiple media outlets.

Frost will be introduced at a news conference today.

“Scott was highly sought after and we are excited that he will bring his innovative offense to UCF. He’s the ideal coach for the Knights,” UCF vice president for communications and marketing Grant Heston told the Orlando Sentinel, confirming the hire.

Frost, 40, was the starting quarterback on the 1997 Nebraska national title team and spent six years playing in the NFL before moving into coaching in 2002.

He joined the Oregon coaching staff in 2009 as the receivers coach under Chip Kelly. After Kelly jumped to the NFL, Frost was named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach by new Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich.

“We wish Scott all the best with his new opportunity at UCF,” Helfrich said in a statement. “Oregon’s proven track record of success and unique situation have led to many high quality candidates expressing their interest (in the Oregon vacancy).

“We will continue to recruit, prepare for our upcoming bowl game, and support our student-athletes through finals as we move forward.”

Frost’s hiring marks the end of a brief search led by new athletics director Danny White.

“Scott is a winner and innovator who has directed one of college football’s most exciting offenses at the University of Oregon,” White said. “His attitude and experience are exactly what we need to ensure the Knights compete, and win, at the highest levels. I couldn’t be more excited to bring Scott and his fiancé, Ashley, to the UCF family.”

UCF administrators were forced to move quickly in a competitive market that could see as many as 25 vacancies at the end of the college football season.

The school is facing a critical juncture in the post George O’Leary era, having just completed its second winless season since 2004.

This is the first head coaching job for Frost, who previously served as an assistant coach at Northern Iowa before joining Oregon’s staff.

During Frost’s seven seasons at the University of Oregon, the Ducks have made two national championship game appearances and been PAC-10/PAC-12 conference champions four times. As quarterbacks coach, Frost helped develop Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota into a Heisman Trophy winner.

“UCF is an excellent opportunity for me because our student-athletes can succeed immediately, both competitively and academically,” Frost said. “We’ve had great recent success — I vividly remember watching the Fiesta Bowl victory. With our student-athletes, football staff, facilities, fans and supporters, I know we will bring exciting and winning football back to Orlando.”

Administrators conducted final interviews during the weekend as most college football teams ended their regular seasons.

White, UCF President John Hitt and Heston were involved in the search.

“Scott’s success on the field and his ability to earn the trust and respect of his fellow coaches, players and recruits make him the ideal coach to lead our football program into the future,” Hitt said. “UCF has a tradition of student-athlete academic success, and Scott has impressed me with his dedication to ensuring his student-athletes succeed in the classroom and on the field.”

Other finalists said to have been considered for the job were Florida co-defensive coordinators Geoff Collins’ and Randy Shannon, Nevada coach Brian Polian, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and Babers.

UCF’s current football coaches met the interim athletics director Brad Stricklin on Sunday afternoon following their season-ending loss to USF to discuss their futures. They were told to hold off from recruiting.

O’Leary, 69, retired Oct. 26, wrapping up a 12-year tenure during which he helped put the school’s football program on the national radar. He finished his career second in school history in wins.

O’Leary compiled an 81-68 record at UCF and led the team to seven bowl games. He has won three postseason games at UCF, including his crowning achievement in 2013 — an upset of No. 5 Baylor to win the Fiesta Bowl.

This year, the Knights entered the season as the third youngest football team among Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Frost will inherit a group that used 33 first-time starters during the 2015 season, tying with Kansas for most in the FBS, and a promising receiving corps spearheaded by redshirt freshman Tre’Quan Smith. Smith finished the season with 52 receptions for 724 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He ranks No. 1 in UCF history for receptions and receiving yards by a freshman.

In this 2014 file photo, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) speaks with Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost before a game. Frost is the new head coach at Central Florida. AP PHOTO