Paul Ferraro, who was hired as defensive coordinator by UCF in December, has left the program.
Paul Ferraro, who was hired as defensive coordinator by UCF on Dec. 28, 2013, has left the program, UCF coach George O’Leary told the Orlando Sentinel.
The Knights have promoted linebackers coach Tyson Summers to interim defensive coordinator for the spring football season.
“Paul Ferraro left for personal reasons and I wish him well,” O’Leary said. “I’ve named Tyson Summers interim coordinator until after the spring when a decision will be made. I’m giving Tyson the opportunity based on the great job he did as interim coordinator at the Fiesta Bowl and I’m interested to see how much progress we make in the spring under his tutelage.”
Iliana Limon and Paul Tenorio discuss Blake Bortles' upcoming NFL Draft stock.
The move is shocking because Ferraro had yet to officially coach in a practice for UCF. He was hired before the Knights trip to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl and accompanied the Knights to Glendale, but he did not coach in an official capacity during the bowl week. Ferraro was involved during the recruiting process and talked to fans during an event on National Signing Day.
O’Leary would not elaborate on the reasons for Ferraro’s departure.
Summers served as the interim defensive coordinator during the lead-up to the Fiesta Bowl, guiding the Knights to an impressive showing against Baylor. A well-respected voice and one of UCF’s top recruiters, Summers will maintain his role as the linebackers coach in addition to his defensive coordinator duties.
Ferraro was hired to replace Jim Fleming, who left UCF to take over as head coach at the University of Rhode Island. O’Leary is a longtime defensive coach who has installed his defense with the Knights to great success. UCF has not ranked outside of the top 50 in total defense since 2006 and twice in the last four years has ranked in the top-10 in scoring defense.
Last season with limitations in personnel, the Knights finished 29th in total defense and 17th in scoring defense.
UCF’s spring football practice begins on March 12.
Ferraro joined the Knights from Maine, where he served as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach. Prior to the stint with Maine, Ferraro spent seven seasons as an assistant in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams. Ferraro also served as defensive coordinator at Rutgers from 2001 to 2004. He had previously worked with O’Leary during stints as the defensive backs coach at Georgia Tech from 1999-2000 and at Syracuse as a graduate assistant in 1983.
The Knights have also hired Allen Mogridge as a defensive ends coach, O’Leary said. Mogridge served as the offensive line coach at Temple last season after working as the special teams and tight ends coach at UCF in 2012.
Mogridge spent three seasons at UNC as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach and coached at Buffalo from 2004-08. He began his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant at Buffalo and served as defensive ends coach at Western Carolina.
“I’m very happy to get Allen back,” O’Leary said. “He’s an outstanding field coach and a great recruiter and an overall great addition to the program.”