ATLANTA — Sean Beckton was a star wide receiver for UCF from 1987-1990. By the end of his career, he became the Knights’ all-time leader with 196 receptions and 2,493 receiving yards. It’s a big reason that he’s in the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.
Aside from his playing days, Beckton also has coached an impressive 19 years for UCF, which spans multiple coaching staffs — Gene McDowell, Mike Kruczek, George O’Leary and Scott Frost. When Frost was hired by UCF in December 2015, one thing was immediately clear: Beckton must stay.
“When I got to UCF, I must have gotten 2,000 messages to keep Coach Beck, and I didn’t know who Coach Beck was at the time,” Frost said. “I got to know him and it was obvious to me that he was somebody I wanted on my staff after I got to know him. He’s one of the best men that I know, and he’s a really good coach.”
Frost knows how much UCF means to Beckton. However, when Frost accepted the head coaching position with Nebraska, he knew he wanted to offer Beckton the chance to join him as the Huskers’ tight end coach.
It was never a guarantee what Beckton would do, but the offer was there if he wanted it.
“Leaving UCF, I thought the right thing to do was to give every one of the coaches an opportunity to come if they wanted to, and I extended that offer to Coach Beck, as well,” Frost said. “Wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but decided he wanted to keep the group together and stay with us in Lincoln. It’s good for us. I’m kind of sad to see him leave UCF, but I’m excited to have him with me as well. He’s going to be a big part of what we do.”
There’s a word that has been used quite a few times over the last month: bittersweet. Everything about Frost and his staff coaching in the Peach Bowl is bittersweet. The staff felt it was the right thing to do, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
And it especially can’t be easy for someone like Beckton.
“UCF is in his DNA,” new Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander said. “His family has lived here. He loves this place. He cares about UCF more than any person I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a lot of the boosters and alumni and everyone that works here. I think it’s very difficult for him. I think it will be a very emotional time.”
It likely will be, but Frost is more than happy to have Beckton join him at Nebraska. As for Beckton? He has plans to stay connected with the UCF family, but he’s ready for a new challenge.
“[UCF] is my program and I helped build it,” Beckton told the Orlando Sentinel. “I take great pride in that. But it’s time for me to experience something different.”