UCF hires Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as head coach

Dr. Saturday
In this Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 photo, Josh Heupel, Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, answers a question during media day in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
In this Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 photo, Josh Heupel, Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, answers a question during media day in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Central Florida is bringing in Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as its replacement for Scott Frost.

The school announced the hire of Heupel, who spent the last two seasons at Mizzou, on Tuesday. With Heupel at the helm, Missouri is No. 7 nationally in total offense this season, averaging 511.5 yards per game. Under Heupel’s tutelage, Tigers quarterback Drew Lock leads the nation with 43 touchdown passes, an SEC record. Missouri started the season 1-5 but won its last six games to finish the regular season 7-5 and e Texas in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27.

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Heupel played quarterback at Oklahoma and was an All-American and Heisman runner-up in 2000, when the Sooners won the national championship.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and his family to UCF,” said UCF athletic director Danny White. “I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams. Coach Heupel is in coaching for the right reasons. He cares about his student-athletes and that’s one of the most important attributes I look for in a coach.”

Added Heupel: “I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF. What makes this opportunity so unique is the vision of the leadership from President John Hitt, Provost Dale Whitaker and Director of Athletics Danny White. Their vision for this becoming one of the premier programs in the country makes this an exciting opportunity. That vision, the amazing campus, along with the recruiting base not only allows you to have immediate success but sustained success. I’m very excited to get a staff together and get to work with our wonderful student-athletes.”

Before his time at Missouri, Heupel had stints as an assistant at Utah State, Oklahoma and Arizona. Heupel was the quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma from 2006-2010 before being promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2014. He was not retained after a disappointing 8-5 record in 2014. OU then brought in Lincoln Riley, who was promoted to head coach after Bob Stoops retired.

From there he spent one year as the offensive coordinator at Utah State before landing at Missouri. The Tigers were ranked No. 124 in the nation in total offense in 2015. In 2016, upon Heupel’s arrival, the team jumped all the way up to No. 13, leading the SEC in total offense with 500.5 yards per game.

In addition to the hire of Heupel, UCF also announced that Randy Shannon will be its defensive coordinator. Shannon comes to UCF from Florida, where he served as interim head coach following the dismissal of Jim McElwain. Shannon was UF’s defensive coordinator in 2017 (before getting the interim HC tag) and co-DC in 2015 and 2016. Before his time at UF, Shannon was most notably the head coach at Miami, his alma mater, from 2007-2010. He also had multiple stints as an assistant with the Hurricanes and coached at TCU, Arkansas and with the Miami Dolphins.

“Randy is someone who I have always had a great deal of respect for throughout the years,” Heupel said. “Seeing what he’s been able to do with defenses, in addition to his ability to recruit this state, it’s extremely special and will be invaluable to our staff.”

UCF won the American Athletic Conference championship this season, going a perfect 12-0. After the AAC title game win over Memphis on Saturday, Frost was announced as the head coach at Nebraska, his alma mater. Frost took most of his staff with him to Lincoln, but will coach UCF in the Peach Bowl against Auburn.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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