Scott Frost turned Marcus Mariota into a Heisman Trophy winner.
That is going to seem like an easy task compared to what he is now facing.
Central Florida announced Tuesday that Frost, Oregon’s offensive coordinator since 2013, is its new head coach. The Knights just finished a 0-12 season that saw veteran coach George O’Leary leave the program after more than a decade.
“Scott is a winner and innovator who has directed one of college football’s most exciting offenses at the University of Oregon,” UCF athletic director Danny White said in a statement.
Frost was the quarterback on Nebraska’s 1997 national-championship team, and got into coaching after a brief NFL career as a defensive back. In 2009, Chip Kelly hired him to be Oregon’s wide receivers coach. Four years later, when Kelly left for the Philadelphia Eagles, Mark Helfrich made Frost his offensive coordinator.
Now Frost is going from the Pacific Northwest to the Southeast.
O’Leary coached the Knights from 2004 until retiring eight games into this season. In 2013, led by quarterback Blake Bortles, the Knights went 12-1 and qualified for their first BCS game. In the Fiesta Bowl, Bortles threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in a 52-42 upset of Baylor.
The Knights went 9-4 in 2014, losing the St. Petersburg Bowl to North Carolina State, before collapsing this season.
Two years later, though, the memory of that BCS win helped Frost decide to take the job.
“UCF is an excellent opportunity for me because our student-athletes can succeed immediately, both competitively and academically,” he said in a statement. “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.”