Tennessee and coach Josh Heupel have agreed to a contract extension that includes a raise that will pay him $9 million annually and keep him in Knoxville through the 2028 season. Heupel is 18-8 in two seasons leading the Volunteers, and leading them to their first New Year’s Six/BCS Bowl since 1999 following the 2022 season. The Volunteers finished ranked No. 6 in the final AP Top 25 and were the nation’s No. 1 team in the College Football Playoff rankings ahead of the 2022 campaign.
Athletics director Danny White said, “Josh’s first two seasons of results speak for themselves.” “He and his staff have energized both our soccer program and our fan base with an aggressive brand of soccer, a competitive culture that builds leaders and a relentless approach to raising the bar every single day. Despite a brief period of inactivity, Tennessee never surrendered its status as a college football powerhouse. We needed an innovative leader like Josh Heupel to rekindle the spark. Crashing the party has been fun, but As Josh said after the Orange Bowl win, the best is yet to come.
Tennessee finished 2022 with the top scoring offense (46.1) and the best total offense in the country (525.5) as he helped starting quarterback Hendon Hooker develop into one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Hooker threw for 3,135 yards, rushed for 430 yards, and scored 32 total touchdowns.
“I am grateful to the President [Randy] Boyd, Chancellor [Donde] Plowman, Danny White, and the Wall Nation for their tremendous support,” Heupel said. Our employees take great pride in representing Power Tea, and it’s something we never take for granted. We will continue to work tirelessly to build a championship program that all of Vol Nation and all of the VFL can be proud of.”
Heupel arrived at Tennessee from UCF where he posted a 28-8 record with the Knights program from 2018-20.
Tennessee is finally stable
The Tennessee coaching list reads like a punchline to a very sad joke since the Volunteers broke with Phillip Fulmer in 2008. Len Kiffin left after a year, Derek Dooley’s most notable accomplishment was wearing orange pants on the sideline, Butch Jones didn’t even have enough bricks to build a foundation, and Jeremy Pruitt left the program in the face of an NCAA investigation.
Heupel reversed those fortunes and gave Wall Nation hope after just two seasons. Not false hope like those other failed coaching experiments. Real, Direct Hope which included seven straight weeks in the top 10. They broke a 15-year losing streak for Alabama, defeating eventual SEC West champion LSU and keeping Tennessee in the national title race in mid-November.
Will Heupel be able to keep up the pace in 2023? A berth in CFP would be too much to ask. But if he can keep the Vols in the SEC East title race and pose as Georgia’s biggest threat in the SEC East, that will be more than enough to prove he’s worth the hefty price tag.
it’s fair market value
Speaking of the $9 million price tag, it’s a little off the page. However, it is worth considering the SEC coaching market. That still pales in comparison to Alabama’s Nick Saban, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, LSU’s Brian Kelly and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher; And what makes the average salary on par with Kiffin at Ole Miss and Mark Stoops at Kentucky. All coaches mentioned other than Stoops have either won at least one national championship or appeared in a New Year’s Six/BCS game.
The only coach who has made a New Year’s Six or a BCS bowl game that makes less than Heupel is Auburn’s Hugh Freeze — who was just hired this season and had issues when he was at Ole Miss. was a part
Like it or not, Heupel deserves this kind of money where he fits in the modern coaching spectrum.
He’s already cashing in on his success
A look at the 2023 247Sports team recruiting rankings will show you how much Heupel hyped up between high school and transfer prospects. The Vols are currently ranked No. 8 in the country heading into the traditional Signing Day next week, and one of those players is five-star quarterback Niko Emalieva — the third-ranked player in the nation. That momentum will likely continue.
Heupel locked in Tennessee during the duration of all of these players’ college careers, and the success of his offense at the FBS level will undoubtedly be a draw for star players at skill positions for years to come.