AD Danny White Hires His Central Florida Coach
Tennessee football, Josh Heupel
By Kevin Wilkerson, PubClub.com College Football Blogger
Tennessee Football sure didn’t go out of its way to hire its next football coach.
New Athletic Director Danny White, recently of Central Florida, hired Josh Heupel, also from Central Florida.
Gee, hope the school didn’t pay $100,000+ for a search firm.
Overall it’s a ho-hum, “well let’s see” hire. One could call it a “safe” hire. There’s simply not enough on Heupel’s resume to know if he’s a sleeper in the coaching industry or a snoozer.
“I fully expected him (White) to bring in someone of a much higher caliber,” Paul Finebaum said on The Paul Finebaum Show.
“It seems like a convenient hire,” Knoxville News-Sentinel UT reporter Blake Topppmeyer said on the same show.
The prevailing response from UT fans on Twitter is pretty much “give him a chance.”
What else can they say, of course. He’s yet another unproven coach hired to lead the Big Orange.
There are media reports floating out there that White made a run at Penn State’s James Franklin, but Franklin wanted a ridiculous salary (he’s already making $6.5 million). So White settled for an almost-ridiculous figure of $4 million (for six years) for a coach with no big-school head coaching experience.
It is, of course, ridiculous to ridicule the hire until Heupel’s teams takes the field. There is also possible NCAA probation looming; at the very least the school will impose some sanctions from the McDonald’s Hamburgler fiasco under previous coach Jeremey Pruitt. That no doubt hampered White’s ability to find a coach willing to walk into that situation.
Heupel went 28-8 in three years at Central Florida, which sounds impressive until you factor in the fact that he took over a program coming off an undefeated season. What is troublesome is looking at how the Knights slipped under Heupel – 12-1 his first, year, 10-3 the next and just 6-4 last year.
He seemed to have no problem winning with Scott Frost’s players but not so much his own. Sound familiar long-time UT fans? Does the name Bill Battle bring up any memories?
Heupel did coach Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford at Oklahoma, where he himself was a Heisman runner-up QB. That’s a positive. So is the fact he was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Missouri for a season, so he has SEC coaching experience.
He was also fired at his alma mater after his coach, Bob Stoops, but him in charge of calling the offensive plays. That, most definitely, is a negative.
But hey UT folks, give him a chance. You don’t really have any other choice.
He’s already done one thing right from a PR standpoint. When he arrived in Knoxville for the introductory press conference, he had his daughter get off the UT plane wearing orange-and-white striped pants.
It’s a good start. But it’s the future that matters.