The University of Tennessee has hired UCF head coach Josh Heupel to the same position. The news comes just five days after Danny White was hired as their new Athletic’s Director.
The former Heisman Trophy winner was on the staff at Oklahoma from 2006-2014. He served as the quarterback’s coach for five of those years, before also becoming the co-offensive coordinator.
Heupel has previous ties to the SEC, as he was the OC at Missouri for two years, averaging 37.5 points per game in the 2017 season. His offense led the Southeastern Conference in yards per game with an average of 500.5. Missouri ranked 7th In the nation in total offense.
Danny White announced the hiring on Wednesday morning and released a statement.
“We looked at a number of potential candidates,” 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.”
New head coach, Josh Heupel also released a small statement in the university’s release.
“I am thrilled to be coming to Tennessee,” 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.”
During his first year in Orlando coaching the Knights, Heupel led them to the Fiesta Bowl, after having a 12-0 regular season and winning the AAC Title. They lost that game to LSU, falling short of their second straight undefeated season.
The Golden Knights followed up the undefeated regular season by going 10-3 during the 2019 season and 6-4 this past year. It should be noted that UCF lost three regular-season games by a combined 12 points before they lost to BYU in their bowl game. One thing you could always count on with UCF was an offensive showcase, even if their defense trailed behind in production. Athletic Director Danny White was confident enough in the coaching from Heupel, to bring him along to Knoxville.
Tennessee has been a hard sell when it comes to the potential NCAA violations that are looming, but White must have a feeling that his former head coach could lead them through trouble at Tennessee. This could be seen as a good hire on a few different fronts. Heupel has the head coaching experience and probably wouldn’t take the job if his former boss told him it was a career killer. The offense should at least put up some points with the players they have returning on offense. Whether it be Kaidon Salter, Hendon Hooker, or Harrison Bailey, the development at the position should be much better in 2020.
A new regime at Tennessee will takeover many different problems, as they look to push through the 2020 season with looming NCAA problems, as Jeremy Pruitt left the program in “alleged” ruins. The Vols will most likely self-impose penalties on themselves in hopes that the NCAA will see that as enough. The internal investigation has yet to be wrapped up, but all signs point to multiple “Level 1” violations.
As much success as Heupel has had in his three years as UCF head coach, he’s walking into a completely different situation in Knoxville. Athletic Director Danny White had this to say last week when it comes to regaining the trust of the Tennessee fanbase.
“I’ll repeat what I said to our chancellor a couple of nights ago: I hate to lose. And I imagine our fans hate to lose maybe as much as I do, but there aren’t many people who hate to lose as much as I do. I want the same thing they want. I want us to get extremely competitive, I want us to be competing for championships. If that could happen tomorrow, I would snap my fingers and make that happen. I am asking for their trust, to know that they have an athletics director that is going to work his tail off to figure out how to get the right leadership, the right staff, and the right support around our football program. To make sure that happens as quickly as possible while doing it the right way. Because if we don’t do it the right way, it is not going to be sustainable”.
The hiring of Josh Heupel can be viewed in many different ways, but the Vols needed themselves a head coach. As Wednesday morning began, the Tennessee football team met with their new AD to learn the news of their incoming head coach.
There’s a new regime in Knoxville, with the tag-team of White and Heupel leading the way. The trajectory of the Tennessee program needs a shot of life and White is counting on his former head coach to deliver it.
Only time will tell, and that clock just started.