Joshua Heupel is an American professional football coach and former pro athlete. He is currently the athletic director at the University of Tennessee. He was promoted to head football coach at the University of Tennessee in January 2021 following former coach Jeremy Pruitt’s firing. A native of Trousdale, Tennessee, Heupel played four years for the Volunteers from 1990-92. He played defensive tackle and tight end for the Volunteers.
Before he was hired as a college football coach, Heupel served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama for two seasons. He helped the Crimson Tide reaches the Sugar Bowl Championship game. Heupel has coached several high school teams, including two separate trips to the state tournament. Before becoming a college football coach, he coached the High School baseball team’s offensive line for three years.
Before being hired as a college football coach, he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Southern Miss. He was also an assistant coach at Rice. While at SMU, he coached the Trojans to a 10-2 record and the national championship. In his second stint at SMU, the Trojans finished third in the NCAA tournament.
Before being named a college football head coach, Heupel spent the last two seasons as an offensive coordinator for the Volunteers. Before that, he was the associate head coach for the defense. During his first stint in the UK, he worked as the safeties coach and secondary coach at the UK. He joined the UT staff as an offensive coordinator in 2021.
As the coordinator for the offense, he put together one of the nation’s best crimes in his three years in the UK. However, his most significant contribution as a coach came on the defensive end. According to a release from UK’s athletics department, he has helped improve many athletes’ recruiting skills that come out of high school. Overall, he has helped graduate transfer talents become better contributors to their new teams.
In the release, UK athletics stated that he hopes to continue to improve as a football coach. Heupel has made significant strides since he took over the reins of the Vols’ offense. The new head coach has emphasized improving passing and running games, recruiting and developing young athletes.
During hiring him, there will likely be some members of the UT faculty and staff that will not get along with him very well. Though this is expected, one can expect a significant amount of support from the new head coach’s faculty and support. It will be interesting to see how he integrates with these personalities during his tenure as the athletic director. He needs time to gel with his new staff.
Even with a new athletic director, UK is still expected to be successful. Even after a severe loss to rival schools, it does not mean that the UK will fail. It appears that the UK will have many fans returning for the 2021 season. There are still rumors linking Penn State to one of the coaches this spring, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of months.
The other big thing that has the UK in a hot seat right now is the fact that it appears that they have replaced their current athletic director, Craig Livingstone. Heupel will take over in the UK, and it seems as though he is ready for this new challenge. Heupel has been in the UK for just one year and has already made plenty of contacts. He has also recruited and signed some top college athletes such as standout defensive end commit Christian McCaffrey, save receiver Derrek Boatman, and commit running back Dayneighed Moore. In terms of recruits, several high school prospects have already made commitments to the UK.
The bad news is that the UK is expected to lose quite a few scholarship players signed in January. However, some bright spots on the team, including offensive lineman recruit Damontez Mack and wide receiver commit Derrek Boatman and Dayneighed Moore. It is believed that the UK will also add another athlete or two in the recruiting war with perhaps four or five more. Whether it will be recruits or current players is anyone’s guess, but it sure seems like the UK is getting an extra boost.
Regardless of what happens in January, it appears that the UK will find a way to turn things around and make Heupel the face of the athletic department for the foreseeable future. If he does this job well, Heupel should have no trouble turning UK fans on and making a good impression on Jim Delaney. I think that Heupel could end up being the perfect fit for this new head coach. I don’t see any reason why UK fans can’t get excited about the upcoming recruiting season and think that Heupel has the best foot forward.
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