Josh Heupel had a fantastic season in his second year as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers last season, leading them to an 11-2 record and an Orange Bowl victory over Clemson in his second season at the school. Heupel is also 4-1 this season with his only loss being a disappointing one to a Florida team that currently sits at 4-2 in the SEC East; a much better mark for them than many predicted.
Although early in his tenure, Volunteer nation is well on-board the “Heupel Train” and convinced they’re onto greener pastures with him at the helm. And that very well may be. But here’s where critics will say it doesn’t add up:
Will Josh Heupel crash and burn at Tennessee?
Heupel took over as head coach of the UCF Golden Knights in 2018 after previous head coach Scott Frost led the Golden Knights to a perfect 13-0 record in 2017 before departing for Nebraska for the same position.
Since Heupel took over at the school, his record for each season at UCF is below:
- 2018: 12-1
- 2019: 10-3
- 2020: 6-4
Point being, Heupel digressed the program by record each year at the helm. When his close friend and former UCF Athletic Director Danny White departed for Knoxville, he brought Heupel with him.
At the time, many thought it was a “safe hire” after the tumultuous tenure the team had under former head coach, Jeremy Pruitt.
Fast forward two years and a .71 win percentage with the Vols, and fans have hopped on board. But will this last? How would it make sense to given Heupel’s digression of the program at UCF?
Better resources including more funding, prestige and larger conference lend one to believe that maybe that was all Heupel needed. But then again, doesn’t that go for every SEC head coaching job compared to one at a non-power five?
Whatever side of the fence you’re on, the success of Heupel thus far at Tennessee who hadn’t seen a 10-plus win season since 2007 is an intriguing one. Time will tell if it can be sustained. And don’t be surprised it if does. Based on Heupel’s track record at UCF though, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t either.