Freshly hired Tennessee athletic director Danny White is turning to a familiar face to replace Jeremy Pruitt, as UCF coach Josh Heupel is in the process of being named the Volunteers’ next coach, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reports. Heupel, 42, led the Knights to a 28-8 record in three seasons after White hired him to replace Scott Frost.
A press conference to introduce Heupel is expected around noon ET.
The move comes after Tennessee fired Jeremy Pruitt for cause on Jan. 18 amid an internal investigation into alleged recruiting violations. That investigation coincided with the bottoming out of the Vols’ on-field performance under Pruitt/ Tennessee lost seven of its last eight games to finish the 2020 season with a 3-7 record. In total, Pruitt finished his three-year tenure with a 16-19 (10-16 SEC) mark after replacing Butch Jones following the 2017 season.
Tennessee’s last 10-win season came with Phillip Fulmer as coach in 2007, which was the last year the Vols won the SEC East.
Heupel will be the school’s sixth coach since that season. He inherits a program that has gone 78-82 in the 13 years since. Fulmer spent the past three seasons as athletic director until announcing his retirement last week. The university quickly tabbed White as Fulmer’s replacement, and the former UCF athletic director wasted little time in hiring a football coach.
Penn State coach James Franklin, Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and SMU coach Sonny Dykes were among the other rumored candidates for the job.
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