I think it’s fair to say that Danny White is one of the best athletic directors in the country, and he’d use Tennessee’s money and resources to hire the best possible head coach for Tennessee Football.
Out of the coaches rumored to potentially be coming to Rocky Top, one coach that a lot of people never considered as a serious candidate is UCF’s, Josh Heupel.
That could be because White just left UCF and upgraded to a Power 5 program that gives him more opportunities and options when it comes to hiring a head coach. A report came out the other day that Tennessee was close to getting the deal done with James Franklin, but that didn’t happen.
We don’t know what option Franklin was in terms of was he the first coach to get a call from Tennessee or the last Power 5 coach to be offered, but the Vols seemingly went from Franklin to Heupel in about a day.
Tennessee Football announced the hire on their social media platforms, and it’s clear that there’s already a division within the fan base about the hire. Some fans like the hire, and many others have been unafraid to voice that they don’t like the hire.
With an elite AD hire, Tennessee fans were promised a coaching search that will look for the best head coach for Tennessee, and they got Heupel. I don’t think Heupel is a bad hire, but I don’t think he will get the Vols to a national championship or even an SEC Championship in the next five years.
I also don’t think it’s necessarily fair to expect Heupel to take the Vols to a national championship based on where the program is right now, but a good head coach could lead Tennessee to compete in the SEC East and possibly get to the SEC Championship in the next five years.
With the split in the fan base on this hire, Heupel will be under the microscope of a lot of Tennessee fans, and criticism will undoubtedly come his way in his first couple of years at Tennessee. That’s also where we should know if he has what it takes to be an SEC head coach.