Tennessee to hire Josh Heupel of UCF to be its next head coach
It looks like the Tennessee Volunteers have found their next head coach. And he comes from the same school where it landed its new athletic director.
According to multiple reports, the school is hiring Central Florida head coach Josh Heupel to the new head coach at Tennessee. He has spent the previous three seasons as the head coach at Central Florida where he compiled a 28-8 record.
The Volunteers confirmed the hire with a tweet.
Welcome to Rocky Top, @coachjoshheupel!
— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) January 27, 2021
“We looked at a number of potential candidates,” Tennessee Athletic Director 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’s offenses were prolific at Central Florida, as it has finished second in total offense in the country in each of the previous two seasons.
Heupel does have experience in the SEC, though only as a coordinator. He served as the offensive coordinator for the Missouri Tigers for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Georgia did win both games against the Tigers in those seasons, beating Missouri 28-27 in 2016 and then winning 53-28 in the following year.
In 2017, Heupel’s offense did play a role in the demise of then-coach Butch Jones, as the Tigers beat the Volunteers 50-17. It was Jones’ final game as the head coach of the program, as he was fired following the defeat.
In addition to his time at Missouri, Heupel has also worked at Oklahoma. He served as the quarterbacks coach from 2006 to 2010 and then became the offensive coordinator from 2011 to 2014. Heupel also won a national title as the quarterback for the Sooners as a player in 2000. He finished second in Heisman Trophy voting during that season. Tennessee is set to play Oklahoma in the 2024 season.
Heupel will be replacing Jeremy Pruitt, who was fired earlier in January due in part to an investigation into recruiting violations in the program. Pruitt went 16-19 in his time at Tennessee. Heupel seems to be about as close to a 180 from Pruitt, as the latter was known for his defensive acumen and recruiting success.
Central Florida is the same school where Tennessee’s new athletic director Danny White came from as well. White replaces Phillip Fulmer, who is set to retire from his role with the Volunteers.
Georgia beat Tennessee 44-21 this past season. The Bulldogs, along with the rest of the SEC will learn the official schedule for the 2021 season on Wednesday, when the league announces it at 2 p.m. ET.
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