Danny White (athletic director)

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Danny J. White
Danny White at the UCF National Champs Block Party (38699975325) (cropped).jpg
White at the block party celebrating the 2017 UCF Knights football team on January 8, 2018
Current position
TitleAthletic director
Biographical details
Bornc. 1980 (age 37–38)
Alma materUniversity of Notre Dame,
Ohio University,
University of Mississippi
Playing career
2001–2002Notre Dame
Administrative career (AD unless noted)

Daniel J. White[1] (born c. 1980) is an American university sports administrator. He is the athletic director for the UCF Knights sports program of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida.[2] White held the same position at the State University of New York at Buffalo from 2012 to 2015.[3] Prior to his tenure at Buffalo, he served as the senior associate athletic director for Ole Miss.

White's tenure at UCF has included the hiring of new head coaches across several sports, significant facility upgrades, establishment of an official rivalry with the South Florida Bulls, and a NCAA recognized football national championship claim.

Early life and college career[edit]

Danny has been heavily surrounded by college athletics throughout his life. His father, Kevin White, is the Director of Athletics at Duke University. His brother Mike White is the head coach of the Florida Gators men's basketball team,[4] while his other brother Brian is athletic director for the Florida Atlantic Owls,[5] and his sister Mariah Chappell is assistant athletic director for the SMU Mustangs.[6]

White graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2002 where he majored in business administration and from Ohio University, receiving his master's degrees in both business administration and sports administration. He completed his doctorate from the University of Mississippi in 2016.[1]

Administrative career[edit]

Non-AD positions[edit]

Prior to his first athletic director position, White served as the senior associate athletic director at the University of Mississippi, worked on development at the California State University, Fresno, and worked as an administrator at other Mid-American Conference schools, Ohio University and Northern Illinois University.

University of Buffalo[edit]

White's first athletic director position was for the Buffalo Bulls, where he was at the forefront of Buffalo's rebranding to become "New York's big time athletics department".[7][8][9] He initiated a long-term capital funding project to develop Buffalo's athletic facilities, notoriety, reputation, and stature to represent the State of New York.[10] During his time as Athletic Director, White restructured Buffalo's athletic department through its management and coaches. His most notable change was the replacement of Reggie Witherspoon for Bobby Hurley, a former 2-time NCAA champion with Duke University and son of star coach, Bob Hurley.[11] White also launched the New York Bulls Initiative (NYBI), which serves as a comprehensive initiative to cultivate a local and national presence and generate an everlasting sense of loyalty to the University's athletic brand. This initiative emphasizes "NEW YORK" on the school's athletic logos. At Buffalo, he oversaw an athletics program with 20 varsity sports and more than 500 student athletes.

University of Central Florida[edit]

In November 2015, White was hired as the athletic director of the UCF Knights,[2] replacing interim AD George O'Leary (who replaced previous AD Todd Stansbury).[12] In the position, White also serves as the executive vice president for the University of Central Florida Athletics Association, the private non-profit corporation that is responsible for the administration and financial management of the UCF Knights athletic programs. As UCF's director of athletics, White oversaw the hiring of a new head football coach, Scott Frost, and was given responsibility of directing over $70 million in athletic facility construction and upgrades.[13] In addition to Frost's hiring, White's administration has overseen the hiring of current men's basketball coach Johnny Dawkins,[14] baseball coach Greg Lovelady, and football coach Josh Heupel.[15]

In 2016, he and South Florida Bulls AD Mark Harlan oversaw the creation of an official "War on I–4" competition series, rebranding the long-running unofficial rivalry between the two schools.[16][17]

UCF football national championship claim[edit]

White generated significant media attention, both positive and negative, for himself and UCF by declaring the 2017 UCF Knights football team national champions in a January 1, 2018, Twitter video published moments after their Peach Bowl victory over the Auburn Tigers,[18] reinforcing the claim the following day with national champions branding on UCF's verified accounts and plans to hold a Disney World parade, hang a national champions banner at Spectrum Stadium, and pay the assistant coaching staff bonuses for their performance.[19] The claim, now supported by the NCAA,[a] came in response to UCF not being selected for the College Football Playoff despite an undefeated season and conference championship.

The claim sparked considerable controversy and debate over whether the College Football Playoff should be expanded to include teams such as UCF that are not in Power Five conferences.[23][24][25] Despite the controversy, White fulfilled all his promises—including the Disney World parade, banner, and coaches' bonuses[26]—and distributed national champion rings.[27] Reactions to White's claim extended past the sports world to the Florida state legislature,[28] with Florida governor Rick Scott signing a resolution declaring UCF national champions on January 8, 2018.[29]


  1. ^ a b "DR. DANIEL J. WHITE". ucfknights.com. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Wolken, Dan (November 17, 2015). "Buffalo's Danny White to be new AD at UCF". USA Today. Retrieved November 17, 2015.
  3. ^ "Daniel J. White Named University at Buffalo Director of Athletics". UB News Center (Press release). May 8, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Bianchi, Mike (March 23, 2017). "High-flying White brothers having a Garden party for Gators, UCF hoops". Orlando Sentinel.
  5. ^ "Florida Atlantic hires Brian White as athletic director". The Washington Post. March 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Schiffer, Alex (January 5, 2018). "The Missouri-Florida matchup is hard on this college sports family". The Kansas City Star.
  7. ^ "Buffalo AD in 'NY State' of Mind". Niagara Gazette. July 4, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  8. ^ "UB or not UB, Part II". Buffalo News. May 25, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  9. ^ "UB Floors It". Buffalo News. May 29, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Blue and White Fund". Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "Buffalo hires Bobby Hurley as coach". ESPN. Associated Press. March 27, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  12. ^ Whitley, David (October 12, 2015). "UCF's George O'Leary Resigns AD Job, but Is Still Football Coach". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  13. ^ "Staying on Offense: $70M Sports Projects" (Press release). University of Central Florida. July 14, 2013.
  14. ^ Glenn, Shannon (2016-03-24). "Johnny Dawkins aims to make meaningful change at UCF". orlandosentinel.com. Retrieved 2018-04-22.
  15. ^ "Hello Heupel - UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). December 5, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  16. ^ "USF & UCF ESTABLISH "WAR ON I-4" RIVALRY SERIES". University of South Florida. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  17. ^ Seeley, Andy. "UCF, USF Debut Rivalry Series – UCFKnights.com | UCF Knights". ucfknights.com. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "@UCFDannyWhite didn't stutter..." @UCFKnights. Twitter. January 1, 2018.
  19. ^ McPherson, Jordan (January 4, 2018). "Is Florida home to the college football champs? One school thinks so — and others agree". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  20. ^ "2017 Rankings, Week 17". Colley Matrix. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  21. ^ "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 109. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  22. ^ Seeley, Andy (January 10, 2018). "Knights Ranked No. 1 - UCF" (Press release). UCF Athletics.
  23. ^ Sparks, Matthew (January 7, 2018). "Knights' success should mark new day for CFP". The Daily Independent. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  24. ^ Gleeson, Scott (January 6, 2018). "Nick Saban, Kirby Smart both OK with UCF's national title claim". USA Today. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  25. ^ Adelson, Andrea (January 7, 2018). "UCF honors 'national championship' with parade at Walt Disney World". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  26. ^ "Unbeaten UCF celebrates self-proclaimed national title at Disney World". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. January 7, 2018. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  27. ^ Adelson, Andrea (April 21, 2018). "UCF AD sees promise fulfilled as Knights unveil championship banner". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  28. ^ Gillespie, Ryan (January 3, 2018). "UCF national champs? Florida lawmakers could declare it so". Orlando Sentinel.
  29. ^ Scott, Rick (January 8, 2018). "National Champion University of Central Florida Knights" (PDF). FLGov.com.


  1. ^ The NCAA recognizes the Alabama Crimson Tide as the 2017 national champions, with the final AP and coaches polls ranking UCF no. 6 and no. 7, respectively. However, UCF was ranked no. 1 by the Colley Matrix, an NCAA-recognized selector of national champions.[20][21][22]

External links[edit]