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Josh Heupel recalls process of taking Tennessee job

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison02/14/23

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Just two years later, it’s hard to imagine that Tennessee was a job that a lot of coaches didn’t want. However, when Josh Heupel took the job, it was seen as an almost impossible situation, with possible NCAA sanctions on the way and a roster exodus.

However, there was still plenty of appeal for Heupel when he followed athletic director Danny White by moving from UCF to Tennessee.

“Tennessee, the brand, the game day experience, the ability to compete at the highest level, all of those things were easy to see and known by me, things that I want to have an opportunity to do,” Josh Heupel explained.

“You want to be able to take care of your staff, make sure that your players are having a great experience. We have all the tools and resources to do all those things. So, now you get a chance to just compete.”

Another thing that Josh Heupel emphasized was the importance of going somewhere with good alignment. Having worked with White at UCF, he knew he could get that again at Tennessee, even though alignment goes beyond the athletic department.

“It was really important to me that leadership was aligned. I say that meaning your president, your chancellor, your athletic director. There’s a clear vision on what they want, what they expect, and a pathway to help you get to where you wanna go,” Heupel said.

“I got a chance to talk to those three individuals and really was just blown away by their passion for Tennessee, the people of Tennessee–their passion for Tennessee football, and how important it was for them to see it be successful and be back on top.”

Tennessee gave Josh Heupel a massive contract extension

In just two seasons at Tennessee, Josh Heupel has an 18-8 record. That includes a marquee win over Alabama in 2022, as well as a win over Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Now, he’s earned himself a massive contract extension.

The deal will keep Heupel with Tennessee through the 2029 season and is worth $9 million annually. That’s a $4 million raise from what he made in 2022.

However, for Josh Heupel, this massive new contract is going to come with massive new expectations that he needs to now live up to.