New UCF coach hires former UF coach as defensive coordinator

Florida Gators head coach Randy Shannon walks out of the tunnel at the start of the Sunshine Showdown rivalry game against Florida State at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

ORLANDO — UCF didn’t take long to hire someone to lead its rejuvenated football program.

The university announced Tuesday that 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.

“Coach Frost did an outstanding job,” Heupel said Tuesday at his introductory news conference. “My job to continue to develop those relationships and continuity. I look forward to that. We need to play smart football but we also have to be physical.”

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.

 

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 after serving as defensive coordinator before the Gators and former coach Jim McElwain parting ways Oct. 29. Shannon coached UF linebackers last year.

“When I was first contacted I poured over some guys who I wanted.” Heupel said. “Me being an offensive guy, getting the right hire on defense was critical. I have competed and coached against Randy. He plays a 3-4 scheme and believes in multiple coverages. Has a rich history in Florida and recruiting and that’s the life blood of our program.”

 

The Associated Press :