Tennessee’s new athletic director, Danny White, didn’t have to look far to land his head football coach. Sources told ESPN that White is hiring Josh Huppel of UCF as Vols’ next head coach.
White had previously hired Huppel when White was UCF’s athletic director. Tennessee is due to make the official announcement at 8:35 p.m. ET.
White, announced on Thursday for Tennessee’s new AD, is working quickly to find a replacement for Jeremy Pruitt, who was fired for a cause on Jan. 18 after an investigation revealed what University Chancellor Donde Pahan called “serious violations of NCAA rules.” “. White launched a wide network through Parker Executive Search and contacted / or interviewed several candidates, including James Franklin of Penn State, Luke Fickel of Cincinnati, Sonny Dykes of SMU, PJ Fleck of Minnesota, and Clemson̵
Sources told ESPN that Elliott had had serious discussions about the job in the past few days, but had refused Tennessee overtures and had chosen to stay at Clemson.
Hoipel, 42, has been UCF’s head coach for the past three seasons after taking over from Scott Frost, leading UCF to an unbeaten 13-0 record in 2017. Hoipel is 28-8 with the Knights, including 12-1 in his first season in 2018. They finished 6-4 last season. Hoipel should owe UCF $ 3.4 million under the terms of his contract.
UCF ranked in the top eight nationally for scoring crime and averaged at least 42.2 points per game in all three seasons in Orlando.
Vice-champion of the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback in the Oklahoma national team in 2000, Heupel has experience as a coach in the SEC. He was Missouri’s offensive coordinator / quarterback coach in 2016-17 before taking over as UCF head coach. Huppel was also a joint offensive / quarterback coordinator for Bob Stopes in Oklahoma for four seasons, but he was fired after the 2014 season when Sooner went 8-5.
Huppel will be Walls’ sixth different head coach, returning to Philip Fulmer, who was sacked at the end of the 2008 season.