FILE - Central Florida head coach Josh Heupel watches warmups before an NCAA college football game against Tulsa in Orlando, Fla., in this Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, file photo. Josh Heupel is leaving UCF to become the next Tennessee coach, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Reaction to Tennessee hiring new head coach Josh Heupel

The University of Tennessee announced its next head football coach Josh Heupel on Wednesday. Former Head Coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s dismissal following alleged recruitment violations and UT’s 3-7 season, led to an opening and a need for new staff.

After searching the country, the new athletic director for the Volunteers, Danny White, decided on an option close to home. White hired Josh Heupel from UCF to take over as head coach.

When White was hired, Heupel did not consider leaving UCF with him.

White and Heupel worked together from 2018-2020 at the University of Central Florida. Their first year together, White and Heupel led UCF to an undefeated regular season in 2018. UCF then went 10-3 in 2019 and 6-4 in 2020.

This bond turned White off to the idea of hiring Heupel when he moved to Tennessee.

Fans’ Reactions

Vols fans have not all been supportive of the decision. Some fans said that they do not think Heupel was the best choice for the program according to an article from Channel 9 News in Chattanooga.

Other fans, however, are getting behind Heupel and coming to terms with the new hire.

Through it all though, Heupel has a plan for the team and hopes the players can get behind him.

Heupel’s Plan

Coach Heupel has goals to promote the players’ connections with each other and the coaching staff. With the pandemic, Heupel said this was a big struggle.

More importantly to the fans though, Heupel already started thinking about the Vols’ offense.

He is prepared to on the development of the Tennessee quarterbacks to add to the offense’s power.

Another point of worry for UT fans, is their new coach’s approach to recruiting. Heupel is confident that the Volunteer’s reputation will be enough to attract the best players in the country. He is concerned with keeping players from leaving, though.

The Future of Vols Football

White and Heupel both have championship aspirations for the Vols.

Furthermore, Heupel commented on the talent Tennessee players possess.

This mindset is only furthered by the bond between the new athletic director and head coach. By working with each other prior to the move to Knoxville, Heupel is confident in the vision that White has for the program.

Vols play their first game on Sept. 4, giving the program time to adjust to the new hires and prepare for a new era in Knoxville.

About Rylee McIver

Rylee is a fourth year journalism major with a specialization in sports and media at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

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