Josh Heupel Is The Most Successful First Year Coach In The Power Five

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    Josh Heupel Tennessee

    Tennessee HC Josh Heupel. Photo By Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics.

    After going 7-5 in his first regular season at Tennessee, Vols’ head coach Josh Heupel turned in the best record of any first year power five coach this season.

    Heupel is one of eight first year power five head coaches. The only other coaches whose teams made a bowl game were Auburn’s Brian Harsin and South Carolina’s Shane Beamer. Both the Tigers and Gamecocks went 6-6.

    Tennessee and South Carolina tied for the biggest jump in wins for a first year head coach. The Vols went from three to seven wins this season while the Gamecocks went from two to six. 

    Heupel defeated Beamer in the coaches’ first meeting in the SEC, 45-20 at Neyland Stadium in October.

    If you include all 16 first year head coaches in division one football, Heupel and Tennessee tied for the third most wins behind Utah State and Central Florida.

    Blake Anderson and the Aggies went 9-3 and will play in the Mountain West Championship after going 1-5 last season. Gus Malzahn replaced Heupel at UCF and posted an 8-4 record this season. The Knights went 6-4 in Heupel’s final season. 

    Andy Avalos at Boise State and Charles Huff at Marshall both turned in 7-5 records this season. The Broncos went 5-2 last season while the Thundering Herd went 7-3.

    Of the 16 first year head coaches, nine posted losing records. The four worst records belong to Arizona’ Jedd Fisch (1-11), Vanderbilt’s Clark Lea (2-10), Kansas’ Lance Leipold (2-10) and Arkansas State’s Butch Jones (2-10).

    Heupel and his staff hit the road recruiting today as the Vols focus on upgrading their roster before hearing their bowl matchup next Sunday.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.