The new athletic instructor in Tennessee, Danny White, did not have to look far to land his head football coach.
Sources told ESPN that White is hiring UCF’s Josh Heupel as Vols’ next head coach. White also hired Heupel when White was UCF’s athletic director. Tennessee convened a team meeting at 8.30 Wednesday morning.
White, who was announced last Thursday as Tennessee’s new AD, has been working hard to find a replacement for Jeremy Pruitt, who was fired for the cause on Jan. 18 after an investigation uncovered what University Chancellor Donde Plowman called “serious violations by the NCAA. -the rules.” White threw a wide network through the Parker Search Firm and reached out and / or interviewed several candidates, including Penn State̵
Sources told ESPN that Elliott over the past few days had serious discussions about the job, but rejected Tennessee’s overtures and chose to stay at Clemson.
Heupel, 42, has been UCF’s head coach for the past three seasons after taking over for Scott Frost, who guided UCF to an undefeated 13-0 record in 2017. Heupel is 28-8 with the Knights, including a 12-1 record in its first season in 2018. They finished 6-4 this past season. Heupel owes UCF a $ 3.4 million buyout under the terms of the contract.
UCF has ranked in the top-8 nationally in scoring violation all three of its seasons in Orlando and averages at least 42.2 points per game all three seasons.
A Heisman Trophy runner-up as a quarterback on Oklahoma’s national championship team in 2000, Heupel has SEC coaching experience. He was Missouri’s offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach in 2016-17 before landing UCF’s head coaching job. Heupel was also co-offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach under Bob Stoops in Oklahoma for four seasons, but was fired after the 2014 season when the Sooners went 8-5.
Heupel would be Vols’ sixth different head coach, returning to Phillip Fulmer, who was sacked at the end of the 2008 season.