Josh Heupel contract extension: Tennessee rewards coach with new contract after leading Vols to 11 wins in 2022

Josh Heupel contract extension: Tennessee rewards coach with new contract after leading Vols to 11 wins in 2022

Josh Heupel contract extension: Tennessee rewards coach with new contract after leading Vols to 11 wins in 2022

Tennessee and coach Josh Heupel have agreed to a contract extension that includes a pay rise that will earn him $9 million annually and keep him in Knoxville through the 2029 season. Heupel is 18-8 in two seasons leading the Volunteers and led them to their first New Year’s Six/BCS Bowl since 1999 after the 2022 season. The Volunteers finished 6th in the last AP Top 25 and were in the first College Football Playoff -Ranked the No. 1 team in the country in the 2022 campaign.

“The results of Josh’s first two seasons speak for themselves,” said athletics director Danny White. “He and his staff have invigorated both our football program and our fan base with an aggressive brand of football, a competitive culture that breeds leaders and a relentless approach to raising the bar every day. Despite a brief hiatus, Tennessee has never relinquished its status as a college football powerhouse. We only needed an innovative leader like Josh Heupel to rekindle the spark. It was fun crashing the party, but like Josh said after our Orange Bowl triumph, the best is yet to come.”

Tennessee finished 2022 with the nation’s best offense (46.1) and nation’s best offense (525.5) as he helped quarterback quarterback Hendon Hooker develop into one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Hooker threw for 3,135 yards, rushed for 430 yards and totaled 32 touchdowns.

“I am grateful to the President [Randy] Boyd, Chancellor [Donde] Plowman, Danny White and from Vol Nation for their tremendous support,” said Heupel. “Our employees take great pride in representing the Power T and that is something we never take for granted. We will continue to work tirelessly to build a championship program that all Vol Nation and all VFLs can be proud of.”

Heupel joined Tennessee from UCF, where he posted a 28-8 record with the Knights program from 2018-20.

Tennessee is finally stable

Tennessee’s coaching roster since the Volunteers split from Phillip Fulmer in 2008 reads like the punchline of a very sad joke. Lane Kiffin left after a year, Derek Dooley’s most notable accomplishment was wearing orange pants on the sidelines, Butch Jones didn’t even have enough bricks to build a foundation, and Jeremy Pruitt left the program in an NCAA investigation.

Heupel reversed that fate and gave hope to Vol Nation after just two seasons. No false hope like those other failed coaching experiments. Real, verifiable hope that spanned seven consecutive weeks in the top 10. He broke the 15-year losing streak against Alabama, went on to beat eventual SEC West champion LSU, and kept Tennessee in contention for the national title until mid-November.

Will Heupel be able to maintain the momentum in 2023? A berth in the CFP will be asking a lot. But if he can hold the Vols in the SEC East title race and pose the biggest threat to Georgia in the SEC East, that will be more than enough to prove he’s worth the steep price.

It’s fair market value

Speaking of the $9 million price tag, it jumps a little off the page. However, given the SEC coaching market, this is appropriate. It’s still less than what Alabama’s Nick Saban, Georgia’s Kirby Smart, LSU’s Brian Kelly and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher make; and equal to the average salary Kiffin makes at Ole Miss and what Mark Stoops makes in Kentucky. All coaches mentioned except Stoops have either won at least one national championship or appeared in a New Year’s Six/BCS game.

The only coach to have made a New Year’s Six or BCS bowl game making less than Heupel is Auburn’s Hugh Freeze – who was hired just this season and had his share of troubles when he was at Ole Miss was.

Like it or not, Heupel makes that kind of money based on where he fits in the modern coaching spectrum.

He is already benefiting from his success

One look at the 247Sports teams 2023 recruit rankings shows you how much hype Heupel has generated among high school and transfer prospects. The Vols are currently ranked No. 8 in the country and face their traditional Signing Day next week, and one of those players is five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava – the nation’s third-ranked player. This momentum is likely to continue.

Heupel has been locked away in Tennessee throughout these players’ collegiate careers, and the success of his offense at the FBS level will no doubt be a draw for star players for years to come.

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