Josh Heupel is the new head coach at UCF, the program has announced.
The school has also announced the hiring of Randy Shannon as defensive coordinator, which FootballScoop first reported.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and his family to UCF,” AD Danny White said in a statement. “I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams. Coach Heupel is in coaching for the right reasons. He cares about his student-athletes and that’s one of the most important attributes I look for in a coach.”
Heupel spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Missouri, where he took an offense that ranked 125th nationally in yards per play to No. 6 this season.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF,” Heupel said. “What makes this opportunity so unique is the vision of the leadership from President John Hitt, Provost Dale Whitaker and Director of Athletics Danny White. Their vision for this becoming one of the premier programs in the country makes this an exciting opportunity. That vision, the amazing campus, along with the recruiting base not only allows you to have immediate success but sustained success. I’m very excited to get a staff together and get to work with our wonderful student-athletes.”
UCF completed the first winless-to-perfect 2-year transition in college football history under head coach Scott Frost, who left for Nebraska on Saturday. The 12th-ranked Knights will meet No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Heupel’s hiring means UCF its last two head coaches both led Big 12 schools to national championships. While Frost guided Nebraska to the 1997 crown, Heupel piloted Oklahoma to the national title in 2000. He got his start in coaching as an OU graduate assistant in 2004 and, after a year as Mike Stoops’s tight ends coach in 2005, returned to Norman in 2006 as quarterbacks coach. He served as the Sooners’ co-offensive coordinator from 2011-14, then spent a year as Utah State’s assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
He is the ninth former Mike Leach player or assistant coach to land an FBS head coaching job, joining a list that includes: Art Briles (Texas Tech RBs coach/Houston and Baylor head coach), Neal Brown (Kentucky WR/Troy head coach), Sonny Dykes (Texas Tech WRs coach/Louisiana Tech and Cal head coach),Dana Holgorsen (Texas Tech WRs coach/West Virginia head coach), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech QB/Texas Tech head coach), Seth Littrell (Oklahoma FB/Texas Tech RBs coach/North Texas head coach) Ruffin McNeill (Texas Tech defensive coordinator/East Carolina head coach), and Lincoln Riley (Texas Tech student assistant and wide receivers coach/Oklahoma head coach).
Heupel is also the 10th member of the Bob Stoops tree, joining Littrell, Riley, Chuck Long (Oklahoma QBs coach/San Diego State head coach), Mark Mangino (Oklahoma offensive coordinator/Kansas head coach), Jay Norvell (Oklahoma WRs coach/Nevada head coach), Bo Pelini (Oklahoma DBs coach/Nebraska head coach), Mike Stoops (Oklahoma defensive coordinator/Arizona head coach), Kevin Sumlin (Oklahoma wide receivers coach/Houston and Texas A&M head coach), and Kevin Wilson (Oklahoma offensive coordinator/Indiana head coach).
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.