It’s official — Tennessee has its next head football coach. Josh Heupel is the next man in charge in Knoxville, following athletics director Danny White from UCF. The move was reported last night, and the University officially announced it this morning.
Heupel racked up a 28-8 record during his time at Central Florida, building off of the success of Scott Frost in 2016 and 2017. His last offense at Missouri in 2017 topped the league, putting up over 500 yards per game.
He’s now tasked with pulling Tennessee out of the ashes, inheriting a gutted roster and potential NCAA sanctions.
“We looked at a number of potential candidates,” Tennessee AD Danny White said. “Josh Heupel, who I had the privilege of working with for three years, is everything we were looking for: winning with integrity, a history of championships and the architect of explosive offenses. He is a players’ coach and the kind of person the student-athletes go the extra mile for. I saw that first-hand, and you can see it in his coaching record.”
Heupel and White will both have to answer for UCF’s decline from the Frost era, which is the biggest question about this hire. A 12-1 record in 2018, then a 10-3 record in 2019, and a 6-4 record in 2020 is a tough sell for such a big job.
White’s track record with his coaching hires is nearly flawless, however. It’s going to be interesting to see if it remains flawless in the most competitive league in the land.
“We brought Danny White in to hire a talented coach who can be here for a long time and build a championship program,” UT Knoxville Chancellor Donde Plowman said. “Coach Heupel has compiled an impressive record, and I think Vols fans can look forward to a bright and exciting future. We are delighted to welcome him and his family to Tennessee.”
Heupel is a former Oklahoma quarterback, turned assistant coach. He was the quarterbacks coach for the Sooners from 2006-2011, before being promoted to offensive coordinator. Heupel was fired after the 2014 season and resurfaced at Utah State. He then moved to the Missouri offensive coordinator post, helping Drew Lock become a second round pick.
“I am thrilled to be coming to Tennessee,” new head coach Josh Heupel said. “I understand that Volunteer fans are hungry for a return to the top that they so richly deserve, and it is my goal and commitment to bring a championship back to Rocky Top.”
Tennessee will introduce Heupel at 12:05 p.m. ET with a press conference.