UCF Extends Dawkins Through 2023 Season

Photo Courtesy UCF Athletics

Following an impressive first year in Orlando, UCF head men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins has signed a contract extension to be in Black and Gold through the year 2023.

“I’m very thankful to [Athletics Director] Dr. Daniel J. White, [Deputy AD] Dr. Eric A. Wood and President John C. Hitt for their continued support of me and my staff,” Dawkins said. “It’s a great feeling to know that they believe in what we’re doing as a program and our standard of representing UCF and the surrounding community at the highest level.”

Dawkins led the Knights to a 24-12 overall record in his first year at the helm, doubling the team’s win total from 2015-16 and marking the sixth best turnaround in all of NCAA Division I basketball. UCF earned its highest ever seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament and as the four seed advanced to its first ever semifinals in The American Championships.

“I couldn’t be more excited to have Johnny Dawkins leading our men’s basketball program,” White said. “The young men on our basketball team are incredibly fortunate to learn from his experience, and develop under his tutelage. Johnny is a great coach and an even better man. We’re all extremely proud of last season’s success and look forward to continued growth in our young program.”

A season full of firsts, UCF hosted its first NIT game in 2016-17, defeating Colorado for the program’s first ever win in an NIT or NCAA Tournament game.  The Knights went on to defeat top seeded Illinois State on the road, before coming home to the first ever sell-out crowd at CFE Arena and winning 68-58 over Illinois to earn a spot in the NIT Final Four.

Under Dawkins’ leadership, UCF led all of NCAA Division I in defensive field goal percentage, holding opponents to just 36.5 percent from the floor.  The Knights were also sixth in the nation, allowing only 61.2 points per game, and gave up 45 or less points in four games over the course of the year.

Matt Williams, B.J. Taylor and Tacko Fall excelled on an individual level with Dawkins at the helm in 2016-17.  Williams increased his scoring output from 8.1 to 15.1 points per game, set numerous school and conference records for three-pointers made, and recently signed a contract with the Miami Heat.

Taylor led the Knights in scoring with 17.4 points per game – an increase of 4.6 points from his impressive freshman campaign – and was named to The American All-Conference Second Team. Fall earned national recognition in leading the UCF defense, garnering AAC Defensive Player of the Year accolades and being named a finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award.

The second season under Dawkins already has some big names on the schedule, as the Knights will host Missouri, play at Alabama and take part in the AdvoCare Invitational at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.


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