Jimmy’s blog: Heupel to get six-year $4 million a year contract

By Jimmy Hyams 

Tennessee’s new coach Josh Heupel will be paid $4 million a year ($275,000 base pay) for six years with a caveat.

If Tennessee gets a two-years-or-more postseason ban and a reduction of at least eight scholarships from the NCAA, one year is added to Heupel’s deal.

His buyout starts at 100 percent of total package if fired before Dec. 15, 2023, and decreases to 75 percent then 50 percent through December 2025 with equal monthly payments.

If Heupel leaves without cause, he would owe UT $8 million if he leaves prior to Dec. 15, 2022, $6 million if he leaves between Dec. 15, 2022 and Dec. 15, 2023, then $4 million, then $3 million then $2 million for each ensuing year.

He gets $500,000 for winning the national title, $400,000 for making the national title game, $300,000 for a College Football Playoff semifinal game, $200,000 for a New Year’s Day Six bowl and $100,000 for a bowl game.

He would get $300,000 for winning the SEC, $100,000 for making the SEC title game.

The maximum in bonuses he can get in a year is $1.2 million.

Here are excepts of various comments or items from today’s press conference with athletic director Danny White and Heupel.

*Heupel said he would not take any transfers from Central Florida. He said he would consider current UCF staffers as well as UT staffers. UT has about 7 coaches on staff with at least one year left on their contracts, including K. Steele.

*I asked hite if, due to pandemic causing financial losses in the athletic department, if Heupel had any restrictions on hiring assistants or if he would be encouraged to keep any UT assistants. White said that was up to Heupel.

*White said he is not patience, but he realizes he and the Vol Nation will have to be patient as UT tries to rebuild a program that went 3-7, faces NCAA sanctions and has had 8 losing seasons in the past 13 years.

*Heupel finished second in the 2000 Heisman Trophy voting to Chris Weinke (UT quarterbacks coach) but beat Wenke and Florida State for the national championship that year. Current UT receivers coach Tee Martin also beat Weinke and FSU in 1998 but Weinke didn’t play in game due to injury.

*Heupel was 28-8 at Central Florida (12-1, 10-3, 6-4). UCF lost three games by one possession this season and also lost about 10 players who opted out due to COVID. UCF QB Dillon Gabriel led the nation in passing yards per game: 3,570 yards, 29 TD, 7 picks.

*After vetting a number of candidates (Tony Elliott, Luke Fickell, Matt Campbell, James Franklin, among others), White said he offered the job to only Heupel. `We got our No. 1 candidate.’ White said he didn’t have a top candidate when he started the search.

*White said when he met with UT players, they said they wanted a coach with `confidence, juice, swagger’ and with Heupel `that’s something we have in spades.’ White noted several offensive achievements for Heupel. including ranking top 5 in nation in total offense 3 years in a row.

*Many UT fans have expressed disappointment in the Heupel hire. White asked fans last week to be positive. of the fans, White said, `Some of you are awesome. Some of you are failing. … How could you be negative? (about Heupel) He said fans shouldn’t turn `passion into negativity.’

*Heupel said a program needs `connection’ to succeed. `It allows you to chase greatness.’ He said his offense will be uptempo, aggressive and will get skill players in space. He wants balance and to dominate the line of scrimmage.

*During his 2 years as offensive coordinator at Missouri (2016-17) he said he learned that in the SEC, teams have great defensive linemen that are physical. Missouri offense went from 124 to 13th in total yards (over 500 yards) in Heupel’s first season at Missouri.

*Heupel called the NCAA issues at UT a `minor speed bump.’ he also said UT `should be an elite program. it’s our job to get it back.’ He said Neyland Stadium is `electric’ and he got goose bumps thinking about 102,000 in the stands. He said in recruiting he wants to close the Tennessee `borders.’


Sponsored by Big Kahuna Wings: The wings that changed it all