It was reported early Tuesday morning that Central Florida would be having a players meeting in which the team would be introduced to the team’s new head coach. While the name of that coach did not leak out with the report, considering OC Troy Walters did not plan to go with Scott Frost to Nebraska, his name made sense.
Turns out, UCF did hire an offensive coordinator but it wasn’t Walters, nor was it Clemson OC Tony Elliott — his name had been mentioned for the job — in a stunning move, the Knights lured away Missouri OC Josh Heupel. Heupel has never been a head coach at the collegiate level.
College football insider Brett McMurphy was the first one to break the news:
Josh Heupel named coach at UCF
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 5, 2017
The school has since confirmed the news:
He’s here for sustained success.
Welcome to Orlando, @coachjoshheupel!
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) December 5, 2017
Heupel was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2000 and coached two Heisman winners at Oklahoma in Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008). He spent 11 seasons working for the Sooners’ staff before coaching at Utah State and the last two seasons at Mizzou. Missouri led the SEC in scoring offense averaging 39.3 points per game.
How this affects Drew Lock’s decision to return to school or leave for the NFL looms large for the Tigers. Lock’s development over the last two seasons was largely due to the coaching of Heupel. It will be fascinating to see if Lock is willing to play for another coordinator and if Heupel takes any other offensive assistants with him to Orlando this offseason.