Tennessee announces hiring of Josh Heupel

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    Tennessee has officially announced the hiring of UCF’s Josh Heupel and will hold his introductory press conference at 12:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon.

    “I am thrilled to be coming to Tennessee,” Heupel said in a press release. “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.”

    Heupel is 28-8 in three seasons as UCF’s head coach. He went 12-1 in the first season after Frost left in 2018, guiding the Knights to a Fiesta Bowl appearance against LSU. Heupel followed his debut in Orlando up by going 10-3 in year two, ending 2019 with a bowl game win. This past season, UCF went 6-4 and lost in the Boca Raton Bowl to end the year.

    “We looked at a number of potential candidates,” Vols 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.”

    The 42-year old was a star quarterback at Oklahoma, where he led the Sooners to a National Championship after transferring from Weber State. Heupel was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2000. He was also an All-American, the AP Player of the Year, and a Walter Camp Award winner. Heupel led the Sooners to an undefeated season and a national championship with a victory over Florida State in the 2001 Orange Bowl.

    Heupel was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft but retired after dealing with shoulder tendinitis in his throwing arm. He returned to Oklahoma following his playing career, where he served as a graduate assistant under Bob Stoops. Heupel was an assistant under Stoops at Oklahoma from 2006-2014 after serving as Arizona’s tight ends coach in 2005.

    “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.”

    Following his time as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma, where he was fired after the 2014 season, Heupel made his way to Utah State, where he served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the 2015 season. He then made his way to Missouri to serve under Barry Odom as offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017, which got him the job at UCF.

    White was hired by Tennessee last Thursday after Phillip Fulmer retired in the wake of Jeremy Pruitt being fired for cause under his watch.