After its greatest season in additional than 20 years, Tennessee didn’t wait lengthy to reward the top soccer coach Josh Heupel with one other elevate and extension to his contract. The Vols on Tuesday introduced that that they had prolonged Heupel by means of January 2029 and that his annual compensation had elevated to $9 million, making him one of many highest-paid coaches within the SEC. Heupel is 18-8 in two seasons at Tennessee after a breakthrough 2022 season noticed the Vols win 11 video games and end with a No. 6 closing rating – each the very best marks for this system since 2001.
During its 11-win breakthrough season, Tennessee notched memorable victories in opposition to Alabama, Florida, LSU, Pittsburgh and Kentucky and capped the record-setting marketing campaign with a victory within the Orange Bowl in opposition to Clemson. The Vols went into November 8-0 and ranked No. 1 within the nation. The loss at eventual nationwide champion Georgia took the SEC title off the desk and the harrowing night time at South Carolina doused their remaining College Football Playoff aspirations, nevertheless it was nonetheless a exceptional season by any stretch for a program that is waited greater than a decade to win at such a degree and play such an thrilling model of soccer.
Tennessee’s final 11-win season got here in 2001, when the Vols completed with a No. 4 rankings.
“The outcomes over Josh’s first two seasons communicate for themselves,” Tennessee athletic director Danny White mentioned in a launch. “He and his employees have energized each our soccer program and our fanbase with an aggressive model of soccer, a aggressive tradition that creates leaders and a relentless strategy to elevating the bar each single day. Despite a quick interval of dormancy, Tennessee by no means surrendered its standing as a school soccer powerhouse. We simply wanted an revolutionary chief like Josh Heupel to reignite the spark. It’s been enjoyable to crash the celebration, however as Josh mentioned after our Orange Bowl triumph, the very best is but to come back.”
According to the contract modification launched by Tennessee, Heupel’s contract was prolonged by one yr by means of the 2028 season and bumped his wage by $4 million. It additionally elevated his bonus for profitable a nationwide championship from $500,000 to $1 million. The buyout constructions for Heupel and for Tennessee in case both terminated the deal have been untouched.
Heupel initially inked a six-year cope with Tennessee that ran by means of the 2026 season and included a $4 million base wage, and he was rewarded final offseason after the Vols, who when he took over have been coming off a 3-7 season in 2020, mired in an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations that obtained Jeremy Pruitt and the earlier employees fired and struggling important roster turnover, went 7-6 in 2021.
The earlier modification prolonged Heupel’s contract one yr by means of the 2027 season and bumped his wage to $5 million. It wasn’t signed by Heupel till July and never absolutely executed till August 1. The particulars of the raises and extensions for Heupel and his assistant coaches weren’t revealed till mid-September, two video games into the 2022 season.
The Vols did not need to wait as lengthy this time to reward Heupel, and one would suppose bumps and extensions are on the best way for the returning members of his teaching employees as nicely.
“I’m grateful to President Boyd, Chancellor Plowman, Danny White and of Vol Nation for their great help,” Heupel mentioned. “Our employees takes nice pleasure in representing the Power T, and it is one thing we by no means take for granted. We will proceed to work tirelessly to construct a championship program that every one of Vol Nation and all VFLs could be pleased with.
“Most importantly, our gamers are the individuals who deserve all the credit score for our resurgence on Rocky Top. Over the final two years, they believed in us and poured their vitality into each single day with exhausting work, management, cohesiveness and constant habits . I’m proud to be their coach.”
Tennessee completed the 2022 season with the No. 1 offense in faculty soccer by way of yards per recreation and scoring, and the Vols produced the SEC Offensive Player of the Year at quarterback Hendon Hooker and this system’s first-ever Biletnikoff Award winner in broad receiver Jalin Hyattwho led the SEC in every of the three essential receiving classes.
The 11-win season noticed Tennessee beat six ranked opponents, which tied the 1998 workforce for essentially the most in a single season, and set greater than a dozen different program information, together with whole factors, factors per recreation, whole offense, whole offense per recreation , touchdowns scored, dashing and passing touchdowns and passing effectivity.
The way forward for this system appears to be like vivid, too, with Tennessee touchdown a top-10 2023 recruiting class, nearly all of which joined this system in January as early enrollees after going by means of Orange Bowl practices in Knoxville and Miami in December.
Heupel was employed by Tennessee from UCF, the place he went 28-8 in three seasons. The Vols employed Knights athletic director Danny White to interchange Phillip Fulmer as they cleaned home after an inner investigation turned up a number of main violations beneath Pruitt’s regime, dedicated by his spouse, a number of assistant coaches and a number of recruiting staffers. White’s teaching search finally circled again to Orlando, and the appointment of Heupel has turned out to be a profitable one to date.
The former Oklahoma quarterback, who led the Sooners to the nationwide championship and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2000, beforehand labored within the SEC at Missouri, the place he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for two seasons (2016-17). He spent the 2015 season at Utah State after being dismissed by his alma mater. After his taking part in profession concluded, Heupel spent the 2004 season as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma and returned to Norman after one season at Arizona to function the Sooners’ quarterbacks coach (2006-10) earlier than being elevated to co-offensive coordinator, a job he held for 4 seasons (2011-14).