Mizzou’s Josh Heupel leaves for UCF job, hires Randy Shannon as DC

Josh Heupel

After building the SEC’s top-scoring offense at Missouri, Josh Heupel is leaving the Tigers for his first head-coaching job. He was announced Tuesday as the next coach at UCF.

He replaces Scott Frost, who was hired at Nebraska, his alma mater, after the firing of Mike Riley.

The elevation to the head-coaching job of an unbeaten team is a rapid transformation for Heupel, 39, whose career not long ago seemed to be going in the wrong direction.

The starting quarterback on Oklahoma’s 2000 national championship team, Heupel was hired as OU’s quartrerback coach in 2006 and was co-coordinator for the Sooners from 2010-14. He was fired after the 2014 season, when the Sooners ranked 83rd in the nation in passing offense. That paved the way for Lincoln Riley to become offensive coordinator, and later coach, in Norman.

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After a one-season stint at Utah State, Heupel joined Barry Odom’s staff at Missouri in 2016. The entire Mizzou staff appeared to be in jeopardy earlier in the season, but a strong second half not only saved the coaches’ jobs but carried the Tigers into a bowl.

With Drew Lock at quarterback, Mizzou ranked second in the nation this season with 43 passing touchdowns, a total exceeded only by Oklahoma.

Heupel isn’t the only name at UCF who will be familiar to SEC fans. Randy Shannon, the Gators’ defensive coordinator under Jim McElwain this season and the interim coach following McElwain’s dismissal, has been hired as the Knights’ defensive coordinator.

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