January 29, 2021 – Atlanta-based Parker Executive Search has assisted in the placement of Josh Heupel as the new head football coach at the University of Tennessee (UT). Mr. Heupel is former Oklahoma quarterback who led his team to the national title, and who as an assistant coach and head coach captured conference championships at Oklahoma and UCF. “We looked at a number of potential candidates,” said Danny White, the university’s vice chancellor and director of athletics, who Parker Executive Search recently recruited for UT. “Josh Heupel, who I had the privilege of working with for three years, is everything we were looking for: winning with integrity, a history of championships and the architect of explosive offenses.” Parker Executive Search set a fee of $120,000 for the assignment.
Mr. Heupel was named the 2018 First Year Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association of America, and he was a finalist for the Associated Press National Coach of the Year Award, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year Award and the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award that same season. He became head coach at UCF in 2018 and became one of only three coaches in college football history to lead a team to an undefeated regular season in his first year with them. That season, his team posted a 12-1 overall record, earning the American Athletic Conference championship and a berth to the Fiesta Bowl. The following year, his team compiled a 10-3 mark, earning a fourth consecutive bowl invitation. Overall, he posted a 28-8 record at UCF and a 20-5 mark in conference play.
Prior to UCF, he served as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach at Missouri from 2016 to 2017. Before that, he was assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Utah State in 2015, and he was a member of the coaching staff at Oklahoma University (OU) from 2006 to 2014. As a player, he was a national champion as Oklahoma’s quarterback in 2000. He was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 2000 while leading the Sooners to a victory over Florida State in the 2001 Orange Bowl, sealing the national title for the OU.
Earlier this month, Dr. White joined UT after a successful tenure at the University of Central Florida. He succeeded Phillip Fulmer, who retired, and was charged with filling the head coaching job left vacant after the dismissal of Jeremy Pruitt midst allegations of recruiting violations.
Dr. White’s tenure at UCF, which began in 2015, included two consecutive American Athletic Conference football championships, multiple bowl appearances, and a 25-game winning streak. Beyond football, his record includes NCAA tournament appearances for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the baseball team, and the soccer team. UCF was the only NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision program in which each of its sports produced winning records across several years. He has also been successful in raising funds to improve the quality of athletic facilities.
The University of Tennessee is a public land-grant university in Knoxville. Founded in 1794, it is the flagship institution of the statewide University of Tennessee system with nine undergraduate departments and eleven graduate departments and hosts more than 26,000 students from all 50 states and more than 100 foreign countries. In its 2009 ranking of universities, U.S. News & World Report ranked UT 118th among national universities and 52nd among public institutions of higher learning.
Searching for Sports Leaders
Parker Executive Search conducts executive searches for corporations, colleges & universities, and collegiate athletics. Its sports practice represents clients looking to fill positions such as president, CEO, EVP, SVP, general manager, executive director, conference commissioner, athletic director, head coach and assistant coach, among others. The firm’s sports practice has a wide range of client schools, including Notre Dame, Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, Iowa State, Fordham and the University of Central Florida.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media