After its best season in more than 20 years, Tennessee didn’t wait long to reward the football head coach Josh Heupel with another raise and a contract extension. The Vols announced Tuesday that they have extended Heupel through January 2029 and his annual compensation has increased to $9 million, making him one of the highest-paid coaches in the SEC. Heupel is 18-8 in two seasons at Tennessee after a breakthrough 2022 season that saw the Vols win 11 games and finish with a final No. 6 ranking — the program’s two highest marks since 2001.
In its breakthrough 11-win season, Tennessee scored memorable victories over Alabama, Florida, LSU, Pittsburgh and Kentucky and capped the record-breaking campaign with an Orange Bowl win over Clemson. The Vols entered November 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the country. The loss to eventual national champion Georgia took the SEC title off the table and the heartbreaking night in South Carolina snuffed out their remaining college football playoff aspirations, but it was still a remarkable season by any measure. for a program that has waited over a decade to win. at such a level and playing such an exciting brand of football.
Tennessee’s last 11-win season came in 2001, when the Vols finished with a No. 4 ranking.
“The results of Josh’s first two seasons speak for themselves,” said the Tennessee athletic director. Dany White said in a statement. “He and his team have energized both our football program and our fan base with an aggressive brand of football, a competitive culture that creates leaders and a relentless approach to raising the bar every day. Despite a brief period of dormancy, Tennessee never gave up its status as a college football powerhouse. We just needed an innovative leader like Josh Heupel to rekindle the spark. It was fun throwing the party, but like Josh said after our Orange Bowl triumph, the best is yet to come.”
According to the contract amendment released by Tennessee, Heupel’s contract was extended for one year through the 2028 season and increased his salary by $4 million. It also increased his bounty for winning a national championship from $500,000 to $1 million. The buyout structures for Heupel and Tennessee in the event that either terminates the deal have not been changed.
Heupel originally signed a six-year contract with Tennessee that lasted through the entire 2026 season and included a base salary of $4 million, and he was rewarded last offseason after the Vols, which when he took relay, were coming off a 3-7 season in 2020, mired in an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations that have Jeremy Pruitt and previous staff laid off and experiencing significant roster turnover, went 7-6 in 2021.
The previous amendment extended Heupel’s contract by one year until the 2027 season and increased his salary to $5 million. It was not signed by Heupel until July and was not fully executed until August 1. Details of raises and extensions for Heupel and his assistant coaches were only revealed in mid-September, two games after the start of the 2022 season.
The Vols didn’t want to wait that long this time to reward Heupel, and you’d think bumps and extensions are on the way for members of his coaching staff as well.
“I am grateful to President Boyd, Chancellor Plowman, Danny White and Vol Nation for their tremendous support,” Heupel said. “Our staff take great pride in representing the Power T, and that’s something we never take for granted. We will continue to work tirelessly to build a championship program that all Vol Nation and all VFL can be proud of.
“Most importantly, our players are the people who deserve all the credit for our resurgence on Rocky Top. For the past two years, they have believed in us and poured their energy into each day with hard work, leadership, cohesion and consistent habits. . I am proud to be their coach.”
Tennessee finished the 2022 season with the No. 1 offense in college football in yards per game and scoring, and the Vols produced the SEC Offensive Player of the Year at quarterback. Hendon Hooker and the program’s first-ever Biletnikoff Award winner in wide receiver Jalin Hyattwhich led the SEC in each of the three major receiving categories.
The 11-win season saw Tennessee beat six ranked opponents, which tied the 1998 team for the most in a single season, and set more than a dozen other program records, including total points, points per game, total offense, total offense per game. , touchdowns scored, rushing and passing touchdowns, and passing efficiency.
The future of the program also looks bright, with Tennessee landing one of the top 10 recruiting classes in 2023, the majority of whom joined the program in January as first enrollees after attending Orange Bowl practices. in Knoxville and Miami in December.
Heupel was hired by Tennessee from UCF, where he went 28-8 in three seasons. The Vols have hired Knights athletic director Danny White to replace Phillip Fulmer as they cleaned the house after an internal investigation revealed several major violations under Pruitt’s rule, committed by his wife, several assistant coaches and several recruiting staff. White’s coaching search eventually returned to Orlando, and Heupel’s appointment has proven to be a success so far.
The former Oklahoma quarterback, who led the Sooners to the national championship and was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2000, previously worked in the Missouri SEC, where he was the offensive coordinator and coach of the quarterbacks for two seasons (2016-17). He spent the 2015 season at Utah State after being fired by his alma mater. After his playing career ended, Heupel spent the 2004 season as a graduate assistant in Oklahoma and returned to Norman after a season in Arizona to serve as the Sooners’ quarterbacks coach (2006-10) before moving on. being elevated to offensive coordinator, a role he held for four seasons (2011-14).
. Tennessee announces a raise a extension contract for Josh Heupel