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Tennessee hires Josh Heupel as new football head coach

The Vols settled a bit after pursuing bigger-name coaches.

Cincinnati v Central Florida Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

It’s official folks. Their is a new man at the wheel for the Tennessee Volunteers football program, and that is Josh Heupel.

Heupel, will be coming to Tennessee after being the coach at the University of Central Florida for the last three seasons. This hire should not come as a huge surprise due to new AD Daniel White coming to Rocky Top from Central Florida as well.

In his three seasons Heupel has posted a 28-8 record, with a 6-4 record this last year. He also coached under Bob Stoops for four seasons at Oklahoma, where he was also the starting quarterback on the 2000 National Championship team. However, Heupel was fired in January 2015 following an 8−5 season highlighted by a 40−6 loss to Clemson in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl.

Heupel’s teams are known for their explosiveness on offense, and vertical passing game which can be seen in the numbers they produce. At UCF, they have ranked in the top 10 in points scored in each of his three seasons in Orlando, with the highest being 5th in the country in 2019 averaging 43.4 PPG. They have also ranked in the top five in total offense per game with the lowest being in 2020 with 522.7 YPG.

White said this when talking about Heupel, “We looked at a number of potential candidates. 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.”

It might not have been the biggest fish that the Vols could have caught, but only time will tell how Heupel will be received in Knoxville. One thing is fore sure, however, and that’s Heupel will likely have some rough growing pains for at least a few seasons as Tennessee recovers from its recruiting scandal under Jeremy Pruitt, as well as the program being gutted by the transfer portal this offseason.