ORLANDO, Fla. — The rumor mill never stops pumping, and the impending future of UCF Head Coach Scott Frost has been the mainline fuel for this year’s production of content. Though he recently signed an extension to stay at UCF through 2021, the threat of Frost’s departure has felt all too real for fans of the program.
Frost’s name has been the hottest amongst this year’s crop of potential candidates in filling open vacancies, a strange and rapid ascent magnified by his NCAA-leading scoring offense. The coach has refuted any ties to current positions, claiming his focus to be solely on the undefeated program he currently leads.
Below is a timeline of UCF’s progress this season and the growing outside threat of coaching theft from one of the blue-blood Power Five college football programs.
9/21 | Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst Fired [UCF 2-0 as of 9/23]
Eichorst’s firing brought about the initial rumblings of a Frost homecoming, but really only meant one thing for certain: Head Coach Mike Riley’s Days were numbered.
“Our fans and our student-athletes deserve leadership that drives the highest levels of competitiveness, as well as excellence across all facets of Husker Athletics,” said Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie Green in a statement.
UCF Football: Frost takes his team up to Maryland two days later to face off against a Power Five Maryland team coming off an upset against Texas. The Terps were undefeated, and UCF had not played competitive football since their August 31 home opener against FIU.
The Knights dominated against the third-string UMD quarterback that game, coming home with an impressive 38-10 road win.
10/15 | Bill Moos Hired as Nebraska Athletic Director [UCF 5-0 as of 10/14]
Nebraska hires on Bill Moos as their next AD, spiriting the executive away from Washington State University. Moos has a penchant for making decisions on his own, and a reputation for aggressively pursuing the head coaches he wants in his corner, usually in person.
“Nebraska has secured a proven winner in Bill Moos to lead Husker Athletics into a new era of excellence,” chancellor Ronnie Green said in a release. “It was clear that Bill stood out in a very competitive, tremendously gifted pool of candidates, not only because of his proven ability to lead programs to greatness, but because of his reputation for integrity in building and leading those programs.”
UCF Football: The Knights move to 5-0 just a day before the hiring of Moos was announced, stomping East Carolina, 63-21 in a homecoming game. It was beatdown that could have been worse, but third-string quarterback Sean Pratt was given the reigns to close things out.
UCF now has added their second 50+ point game of the season after dismantling Cincinnati 53-23 the week before. Memphis proved to be no problem either, and the attention keeps growing.
10/17 | UCF Excellence Fund Gets Public Bump
The Knights’ push to keep their rising stars gets real. Athletic Director Danny White and staff announce the campaign for the UCF Excellence Fund, designed to reign in new funds designed to keep the coaching salaries competitive.
“I’m very excited about the success we’ve had in our time here and I’m committed to helping this program continue growing,” Frost said in a release. “I’m happy to be part of the UCF Football Excellence Fund. We need more resources to keep taking this program where we want it to go. I’m hopeful my support will be a catalyst for others to jump on board and take part.”
10/29 | Jim McElwain Fired at Florida [UCF 7-0 as of 10/28]
The University of Florida fires Head Coach Jim McElwain during a 3-4 season and on the heels of an embarrassing 42-7 loss to Georgia.
UCF Football: Offensive success keeps coming in droves. The Knights record an all-time high 73 points against Austin Peay for their seventh win, staying undefeated in the Hurricane-makeup game.
10/31 | Moos Publicly Praises Frost
“He’s got the full package, but the only thing he was missing back then, in my opinion, was actually being a head college coach and all the other responsibilities and obligations that come with that. He has handled that superbly from afar as I look at it,” Moos said to KOZN radio in Omaha.
11/4/17 | UCF Donor Group Readies Private Plane [UCF 8-0 as of 11/4]
On the road against SMU, Frost is dealing with the approaching birth of his son – which could happen at any moment. UCF donors prepare a private plane to whisk him back to Orlando should his wife go into labor.
“I want to thank Danny for providing a way for me to get home if I needed to,” said an emotionally exhausted and gracious Frost. “Bob Garvey also was instrumental in me getting home if I needed to. One thing I think we talked about a little was me coming on Saturday morning instead of last night in case it happened last night, but I wanted to be with the team.”
UCF Football: The Knights struggled to put away a solid, but not elite SMU team. Frost says that his mind was elsewhere, worrying about the state of his wife and future son. UCF moves to 8-0 in a 31-24 win, the closest of the season.
11/17/17 | Bleacher Report reporter Lars Anderson Reports 7 years $35 Mil for Frost
Less than 24 hours before squaring off with Temple, the reigning conference champion, Bleacher Report’s Lars Anderson reports that there is an agreed upon deal to send Frost home to Nebraska.
Not a breaking-news guy, but hearing a lot of heavy breathing on Nebraska coaching front: Scott Frost to NU for 7 years, $35 mil is “close.”
— Lars Anderson (@LarsAnderson71) November 18, 2017
Frost denied the claim immediately after the game.
“That is completely false,” Frost said on the report. “I can promise you no deal has been made.”
UCF Football: The Knights blow through Temple 45-19 on the way to 10-0. Players run into the locker room holding “We want Bama” signs, yelling “10-0! 10-!”, “We’ve got to get back to the O!”
Nobody seems to give credence to the reports of a coaching departure. Player and coach alike, all the focus is on the next week’s regular-season finale against USF. Do or die, winner to the conference championship.
11/24/17 | ESPN Reports Frost meeting with UF; Anderson Says Nebraska a done deal
Mid-game against USF, a report surfaces via ESPN that Frost’s representatives will be meeting with the University of Florida to discuss their coaching vacancy. Chip Kelly, once linked to the SEC school, has emerged as the future for UCLA. Florida is feeling anxious.
Frost, once again, denies the claim.
“I am my own representative, and I’ll be with my wife and baby,” he says about the claimed meeting.
Anderson returned to Twitter that evening to claim the Nebraska job was locked in.
I've heard from a source that I trust that Scott Frost to Nebraska is a done deal.
— Lars Anderson (@LarsAnderson71) November 25, 2017
UCF Football: Undefeated. 11-0. In what many consider to be the best game of the entire college football season, the Knights survive to beat USF 49-42. It takes two late-game lead changes and a miracle kickoff return touchdown to do it, but UCF has finished the regular season undefeated.
Frost has etched his name deep into the history books in Orlando in just two short seasons, the only team to ever improve from winless to undefeated that fast. From winless to double-digit wins, as a matter of fact.
11/25/17 | Mike Riley Fired
Mike Riley is fired from the University of Nebraska. Chaos and rumors take an all-time jump.
11/26/17 | Frost denies UF, Gators move on to Hire Dan Mullen and Tom Osborne Calls in
Knights 247 Reporter Juan Toribio is the first to report that Florida’s pursuit of Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen isn’t a change in tastes. Scott Frost has turned down the UF job before ever entering serious negotiations, just days after former mentor Chip Kelly did the same.
Before Florida fans say otherwise: the offer was on the table after
Chip Kelly decided to head to UCLA. Frost said no.
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) November 26, 2017
CBS Sports’ Ryan Bass reports that Toribio and he have confirmed Frost has an offer on the table from Nebraska, but that UCF has offered an extension as well.
New update regarding Scott Frost. He's in his office today as #UCF officials prepare to make a last-ditch effort to hold on to him. (VIP) https://t.co/6naoYF9bSf @juanctoribio pic.twitter.com/6ifDPl9yt9
— Ryan Bass (@Ry_Bass) November 26, 2017
Toribio confirms that Osborne has been in recent contact with Frost, but that there is no knowledge of how the conversation went.
Osborne called. I don’t know how that went, though. https://t.co/P9riP0Hovp
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) November 26, 2017