ORLANDO, FL (AP) – The Univ. of Central Florida didn’t take long to hire someone to lead its rejuvenated football program. The university announced Tuesday that Aberdeen-native Josh Heupel will be the Knights’ next football coach. The move comes about 72 hours after Scott Frost announced Saturday he was leaving UCF to become the coach at Nebraska.
Heupel, who has been the offensive coordinator at Missouri the past two seasons, inherits a Knights program that just finished 12-0 to win the American Athletic Conference title. The Knights will play Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Jan. 1.
He will not coach the Knights in the bowl game, but will watch in from a booth at Mercedes-Benz stadium. UCF is working on logistics that would allow Frost to coach that game. Heupel said he was able to catch “bits and pieces” of UCF’s play this season.
Heupel said in a statement before the news conference that he is excited to get a staff together and get to work. He didn’t take long to start assembling his assistants.
Shortly after Heupel was named coach, he announced that he was bringing in Randy Shannon as his defensive coordinator. The former Miami coach finished the season as Florida’s interim coach.
Athletic director Danny White believes UCF has “identified one of the brightest minds in college football” in Heupel. Heupel, indeed, arrives with an impressive resume, having helped Sam Bradford win a Heisman Trophy winner as offensive coordinator at Oklahoma and getting Missouri’s offense on track over the past two seasons. Heupel said he runs a no huddle and fast paced style of offense.
Missouri’s Drew Lock led the Southeastern Conference in passing this season, throwing for 3,695 yards and 43 touchdowns vs. 12 interceptions. The Tigers improved from four wins in 2016 to 7-5 and will face Texas in the Texas Bowl later this month.
Frost led a stunning turnaround at UCF, which finished 0-12 just two years ago. Like Frost, Heupel is a former college quarterback who won a national championship as a player. With Heupel leading the way, Oklahoma won in 2000.
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