Josh Heupel
Tennessee Volunteers
Position:Head Coach
Personal information
Born: (1978-03-22) March 22, 1978 (age 44)
Aberdeen, South Dakota
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school:Central (SD)
NFL Draft:2001 / Round: 6 / Pick: 177
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As a coach:
  • Oklahoma (2004)
    Graduate assistant
  • Arizona (2005)
    Tight ends coach
  • Oklahoma (2006–2010)
    Quarterbacks coach
  • Oklahoma (2011–2014)
    Co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
  • Utah State (2015)
    Assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
  • Missouri (2016–2017)
    Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
  • UCF (2018–2020)
    Head coach
  • Tennessee (2021–present)
    Head coach
Career highlights and awards
As player
As coach
  • AAC Championship (2018)
  • AAC East Division (2018)
  • FWAA First-Year Coach of the Year (2018, 2021)
Head coaching record
Regular season:NCAA: 34–11 (.756)
Postseason:NCAA bowls: 1–3 (.250)
Career:NCAA: 35–14 (.714)

Joshua Kenneth Heupel (born March 22, 1978) is an American football coach and former player. He is the head football coach at the University of Tennessee. Heupel was the architect of a unit that ranked in the FBS top 10 in points per game in each of his three seasons as the head coach at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in 2020 (42.2), fifth in 2019 (43.4) and sixth in 2018 (43.2). The Knights also ranked in the top five in the FBS in total offense per game in each of those three seasons—second in 2020 (568.1), second in 2019 (540.5) and fourth in 2018 (522.7).

Heupel played college football as quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners. During his college playing career, he was recognized as a consensus All-American, won numerous awards, and led Oklahoma to the 2000 BCS National Championship. After two years unsuccessfully trying to make an NFL roster (featuring brief stints with the Miami Dolphins and the Green Bay Packers), Heupel became a coach. He served as co-offensive coordinator for Oklahoma until January 6, 2015, when he was let go in a restructuring of the program despite having four successful seasons.[1] He was named the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach for the Utah State University (USU) Aggies on January 23, 2015.[2] After one season at USU, he was hired on Barry Odom's staff at the University of Missouri, where he was the offensive coordinator before being hired for his first head coaching position at UCF. On December 2017, Heupel was named the UCF Head Football Coach, following the resignation of Scott Frost, who left for the head coaching job at his alma mater Nebraska.[3] On January 27, 2021, Heupel was named the 27th head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers football team, after former Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt was fired due to NCAA violations. Heupel offenses frequently rank in the top ten nationally in total offense.

Early years

Heupel was born and raised in Aberdeen, South Dakota.[4] His mother, Cindy, was a high school principal, and his father, Ken, was a head football coach at Northern State University. As a child, Heupel watched game film with his father.[5]

He attended Central High School in Aberdeen, where he played high school football for the Central Golden Eagles. In the second half of the first game of his sophomore season in 1994, he became the Golden Eagles' quarterback in a scaled-down version of the run and shoot offense. As a senior, he was named South Dakota's player of the year. He got recruiting inquiries from major college football programs at the universities of Houston, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, but "it seemed I was always the second or third guy on their list," according to Heupel.[5]

College career

Heupel began his collegiate playing career at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. He redshirted in 1996 and saw action in four games as a freshman in 1997, but he suffered an ACL injury during spring practice in 1998,[6] pushing him down the team's depth chart. He transferred to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, where he beat out Fred Salanoa as the team's starting quarterback. Heupel passed for 2,308 yards and 28 touchdowns, despite sharing playing time with Salanoa.[7] He later held a scholarship offer from Utah State, but committed to Oklahoma after meeting with Bob Stoops the Sooners' new head coach.

Heupel was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2000. He was also an All-American, the AP Player of the Year, and a Walter Camp Award winner. Heupel led the Sooners to an undefeated season and a national championship with a victory over Florida State in the 2001 Orange Bowl.[8][9]

Professional career

Heupel was drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.[10] Compromised by shoulder tendinitis of his throwing arm, he was relegated to fourth string for the entire preseason and failed to make the team.

He was then later signed by the Green Bay Packers in the early 2002 offseason, but was released a month before training camp. He did not pursue a career in professional football afterward.

Coaching career

Heupel spent the 2004 season as a graduate assistant for Oklahoma under head coach Bob Stoops. In 2005, Heupel was hired as the tight ends coach at the University of Arizona by newly appointed head coach Mike Stoops, Bob's brother and an Oklahoma assistant coach during Heupel's playing days.[11]

Heupel became the quarterbacks coach for Oklahoma in 2006. In that capacity he coached Sooner quarterback Sam Bradford, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2008.[12] On December 13, 2010, Bob Stoops named Heupel and Jay Norvell as co-offensive coordinators at Oklahoma, replacing Kevin Wilson, who had accepted the head coaching job at Indiana. Stoops said Heupel would be in charge of calling offensive plays during games.[13] Heupel's contract was not renewed in January 2015 following an 8−5 season capped by a 40−6 loss to Clemson in 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl.

Following his job at Oklahoma, Heupel served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for one season for the Utah State Aggies and as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for two seasons for the Missouri Tigers.


Heupel was named head coach of the UCF Knights on December 5, 2017, replacing the departing Scott Frost with an entirely new coaching staff. In 2018, Heupel led UCF to a 12–1 record (the Week 3 game against the North Carolina Tar Heels was canceled due to Hurricane Florence) and an appearance in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, where they lost to LSU.


Heupel was named the 27th head coach at Tennessee on January 27, 2021.[14] Heupel led the Volunteers to a bowl game and a final record of 7–6 (4–4 in conference). Heupel also won the Steve Spurrier first year head coach award for the second time, sharing the 2021 award with Shane Beamer.[15]


Heupel is married to his wife, Dawn; they have a son and a daughter.[16] His sister, Andrea Heupel, is married to former U.S. Representative Dan Boren.[17]

Head coaching record

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
UCF Knights (American Athletic Conference) (2018–2020)
2018 UCF 12–1 8–0 1st (East) L Fiesta 12 11
2019 UCF 10–3 6–2 2nd (East) W Gasparilla 24 24
2020 UCF 6–4 5–3 T–3rd L Boca Raton
UCF: 28–8 19–5
Tennessee Volunteers (Southeastern Conference) (2021–present)
2021 Tennessee 7–6 4–4 3rd (East) L Music City
2022 Tennessee 0–0 0–0 (East)
Tennessee: 7–6 4–4
Total: 35–14
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ Evans, Thayer. "Oklahoma lets go OC Josh Heupel after four seasons". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  2. ^ "Josh Heupel Named Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach at Utah State". Utah State Aggies Athletics. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  3. ^ "Hello Heupel - UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). December 5, 2017.
  4. ^ National Football League, Historical Players, Josh Heupel. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Austin Murphy, "Norman Conquerer," Sports Illustrated (December 25, 2000). Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  6. ^ "Josh Heupel author of the new era for OU". June 5, 2009. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  7. ^ "Heupel's Odyssey Hardly Average". Orlando Sentinel. December 31, 2000. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  8. ^ Drehs, Wayne (September 16, 2002). "Heupel on biggest stage of his life". ESPN. Retrieved March 11, 2009.
  9. ^ Dienhart, Tom (December 18, 2000). "Heupel deserved Heisman; QBs are favorites in 2001 - Josh Heupel - Brief Article". CNET Networks. Business Network. Archived from the original on December 22, 2008. Retrieved March 7, 2008.
  10. ^ "Josh Heupel : 2001 NFL Draft Scout Player Profile".
  11. ^ "Heupel to Wildcats".
  12. ^ Matt Baker, "Heupel is happy to serve under Stoops on OU staff", Tulsa World, July 15, 2010.
  13. ^ John E. Hoover, "OU names co-offensive coordinators; Heupel will call plays", Tulsa World, December 13, 2010.
  14. ^ "Josh Heupel Named Tennessee's 27th Head Football Coach". University of Tennessee Athletics. Retrieved June 28, 2021.
  15. ^ Ray, Matt. "Just In: Josh Heupel Named Co-Winner of 2021 Steve Spurrier First Year Head Coach Award". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 18, 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ "School Bio: Josh Heupel". Sooner Sports. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  17. ^ Tramel, Berry (December 12, 2012). "Oklahoma football: Should Josh Heupel have gone to Louisiana Tech?". Retrieved June 17, 2014.