The coaching rumors season is in full effect, and Tennessee coach Josh Heupel is not immune.
Coming off a seven-win regular season during his first year as the Vols head coach in 2021, Heupel’s stock in the coaching world is at an all-time high.
And that all-time high happens to correspond with the sudden coaching vacancy at his alma mater. What luck, right?
The Oklahoma Sooners just suffered the sudden departure of popular and successful coach Lincoln Riley, who officially bolted for the USC job in Los Angeles on Sunday.
That leaves the Sooners conducting a fairly unexpected coaching search.
And Heupel, who won a national championship there as a quarterback and later served as the Oklahoma offensive coordinator under Bob Stoops, is a popular name to replace Riley in some circles.
Josh Heupel Addresses Oklahoma Sooners Job Opening
Heupel was a guest on The Erik Ainge Show on 99.1 The Sports Animal on Tuesday morning, and the former Vols quarterback asked Heupel to comment on his name being mentioned during the Oklahoma coaching search.
Here’s Heupel’s response:
“As you build a successful program with your staff and players, certainly your name has an opportunity to come up for different openings. For myself and my family, we absolutely love Knoxville. We came to Tennessee because of the power of the T, the power of the fanbase and the opportunity to build something special. This is a program that is in the Top 10 in college football history in terms of wins and first-round draft picks. It has been through some uncertainty in recent times, but we love being in Knoxville. That’s home for us. I love being in the building with our staff and players, and I feel even stronger than I did 10 months ago when I took the job about what we’re going to be able to do and how quickly we’ll be able to do it here.”Vols football coach Josh Heupel
You can listen to Heupel’s full interview with Ainge here:
That doesn’t sound like a coach who is looking to leave Knoxville after one successful season. And it’s also worth noting that Heupel may not have the best relationship with his alma mater after Stoops fired him as the Sooners offensive coordinator following the 2014 season.
Heuepel served as the quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma from 2006-10 before moving into the offensive coordinator role from 2011-14.
Following his departure from Oklahoma, Heupel spent time as the offensive coordinator at Utah State and Missouri, as well as head coach at UCF before arriving in Knoxville in 2021.