ORLANDO, Fla. - UCF head coach George O’Leary announced Saturday the hiring of Paul Ferraro as the Knights defensive coordinator for 2014. Ferraro spent the previous two seasons at Maine and was on NFL coaching staffs from 2005-11.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to join Coach O’Leary here at UCF, especially after the outstanding season they have had. It’s great to be back coaching with him, and I look forward to having continued success here,” Ferraro said. “With Coach O’Leary being at UCF, I’ve been following the program over the years, and I coached against the Knights while I was with Bowling Green.”
This will be the third pairing of O’Leary and Ferraro in their coaching careers. While O’Leary served as the head coach at Georgia Tech from 1995-01, Ferraro was the Yellow Jackets’ defensive backs coach from 1999-00. And when O’Leary was leading Syracuse’s defensive line in 1983, Ferraro was on staff as a graduate assistant.
“I go back to the 1980s with Paul as far as a coach and he worked for me at Georgia Tech as a secondary coach for two years,” said O’Leary. “I’m very happy to have him on board. He’s on the trip right now but he is more to be seen not heard. Anything he sees or could help us on, of course I want some advice. He has a lot of experience.”
Ferraro made his NFL debut in 2005 as the Carolina Panthers’ assistant special teams coach. He then took over the special teams coordinator position with the Minnesota Vikings from 2006-08, and led the linebackers with the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11.
Ferraro jumped to the NFL after working as Rutgers’ defensive coordinator from 2001-04 where it led the Big East in sacks, takeaways and third-down defense in 2004.
In his two seasons at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets went 8-4 in 1999 and faced Miami in the Gator Bowl. The next year, they posted a 9-3 mark and advanced to take on LSU in the Peach Bowl.
From 1991-98, Ferraro nestled down in Northwest Ohio as Bowling Green’s defensive coordinator. The Falcons claimed the 1991 and 1992 MAC titles, while also topping Fresno State in the 1991 California Bowl and then Nevada in the 1992 Las Vegas Bowl.
Ferraro earned his start in coaching as a graduate assistant at UMass in 1982, and before joining Bowling Green, he had stints at Syracuse, Villanova, Dartmouth, Catholic University, Maine (first of two stops) and Ohio.
A 1982 graduate from Springfield College, Ferraro was an All-New England defensive back his senior year in 1981. He went on to receive his master’s degree from Syracuse.
Ferraro at a Glance
Hometown – Ridgewood, N.J.
College – Springfield, 1982
Playing Experience – Springfield, 1978-81, Defensive Back
2012-13 – Maine – Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
2009-11 – St. Louis Rams – Linebackers
2006-08 – Minnesota Vikings – Special Teams Coordinator
2005 – Carolina Panthers – Assistant Special Teams Coach
2001-04 – Rutgers – Defensive Coordinator
1999-00 – Georgia Tech – Defensive Backs
1991-98 – Bowling Green – Defensive Coordinator
1990 – Ohio - Linebackers
1989 – Maine - Linebackers
1988 – Catholic University – Assistant Head Coach/Assistant Athletic Director
1987 – Dartmouth – Defensive Coordinator
1984-86 – Villanova – Defensive Coordinator
1983 – Syracuse – Graduate Assistant
1982 – UMass – Graduate Assistant