Not even three full days after losing Scott Frost to Nebraska, UCF athletic director Danny White has already hired a new coach. Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel is the 11th head coach in program history, the school announced on Tuesday.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF,” Heupel said in a press release. “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.”
Heupel took over the Missouri offense in 2015. Before his arrival, the Tigers were No. 124 in total offense. This year, they are No. 7, while coming in at No. 10 in scoring offense (39.3 points per game).
In addition to Heupel, former Florida assistant Randy Shannon is coming to Orlando as the defensive coordinator.
Interim coach Troy Walters, former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, Toledo coach Jason Candle and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott were all rumored as candidates for the job, but Heupel ultimately got the nod.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and his family to UCF,” White said. “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 replaces Frost, who spent two seasons in Orlando and left with an 18-7 overall record, including a 12-0 mark this year.
The hire presents a unique situation for UCF if Frost and his staff truly do return to prep and coach the bowl game, as the Knights would have three head coaches in Frost, interim coach Troy Walters and Heupel.
No. 12 UCF (12-0, 8-0 AAC) faces No. 7 Auburn (10-3, 7-1 SEC) in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.