Wednesday was an eventful day for the Volunteer football program as Josh Heupel was announced as the 27th head coach in the team’s history. A few hours later, Tennessee released the slate of games for the 2021 campaign.
Heupel, a former quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up at Oklahoma, made stops as an assistant coach at Arizona, Oklahoma, Utah State and Missouri before becoming head coach at UCF in 2018. While in Orlando, he had a record of 28-8 and went 20-5 in conference play.
Heupel was known for his explosive offenses while at UCF, where they ranked in the top 10 in the FBS in points per game in each of his three seasons—eighth in 2020 (42.2 ppg), fifth in 2019 (43.4 ppg), and sixth in 2018 (43.2 ppg). His Knights were also in the top five in yards per game each of those years—second in 2020 (568.1 ypg), second in 2019 (540.5 ypg), and fourth in 2018 (522.7 ypg).
“I am thrilled to be coming to Tennessee,” Heupel said. “I understand that Volunteer fans are hungry for a return to the top that they so richly deserve, and it is my goal and commitment to bring a championship back to Rocky Top.”
Heupel was brought to UCF by current athletic director Danny White in 2018.
“Josh Heupel, who I had the privilege of working with for three years, is everything we were looking for: winning with integrity, a history of championships and the architect of explosive offenses,” White said. “He is a players’ coach and the kind of person the student-athletes go the extra mile for. I saw that first-hand, and you can see it in his coaching record.”
Just shortly after finishing his introductory press conference Wednesday afternoon, Heupel and the Volunteers found out their schedule for the 2021 season. Headlining the schedule are trips to Gainesville and Tuscaloosa, as well as Lane Kiffin’s return to Rocky Top for the first time as an opposing head coach. Kiffin was the head coach at UT in 2009, before accepting a job at USC, but he now is Ole Miss head coach.
2021 Vols Football Schedule
9/4/21 vs. Bowling Green Falcons (Knoxville, Tenn.)
9/11/21 vs. Pittsburgh Panthers (Knoxville, Tenn.)
9/18/21 vs. Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (Knoxville, Tenn.)
9/25/21 @ Florida Gators (Gainesville, Fla.)
10/2/21 @ Missouri Tigers (Columbia, Mo.)
10/9/21 vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (Knoxville, Tenn.)
10/16/21 vs. Ole Miss Rebels (Knoxville, Tenn.)
10/23/21 @ Alabama Crimson Tide (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
11/6/21 @ Kentucky Wildcats (Lexington, Ky.)
11/13/21 vs. Georgia Bulldogs (Knoxville, Tenn.)
11/20/21 vs. South Alabama Jaguars (Knoxville, Tenn.)
11/27/21 vs. Vanderbilt Commodores (Knoxville, Tenn.)
12/4/21 SEC Championship Game Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Ga.)
Edited by Christian Knox and Ryan Sylvia
Featured image courtesy of Stephen M. Dowell of the Orlando Sentinel