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.”



  1. Very smart move by Heupel. Time will tell, but it appears that UCF and possibly even USF are on the cusp of being real competition in the recruiting wars for Florida HS players, and Shannon knows the entire state better than most. No longer just getting the UF, FSU and UM “leftovers”.

  2. I wish coach Shannon luck. I hope his memories of uf are not that of any of the sadists that occasionally show up around here!
    my guess is ucf is on to something big. we are too. I even sort of like what fsu did with taggart. the loser in all of this will be Alabama. offense is making a comeback finally

    • I do too, mveal….lots of respect for that guy and given the attrition that the defense had to deal c this year, I looked at it like a rebuilding/work in progress that performed better than expected most of the time and would have been much more to work c had Shannon been able to stay. It was what it was, though, and it is what it is. I don’t imagine Shannon will have hard feelings, he’s a pro and knows the deal.

      I think UCF will be on to bigger things too, also USF. Good coaches and staffs at both schools, good recruiting prospects, and the AAC is not a bad conference per se. But it’s still not at the level of the SEC or the ACC, or even our next door neighbors the Big-12. I think blue chippers from Florida and the Southeast will still select Florida, Miami, and FSU if they have the chance, and that’s where recruiting competition still lies. With Taggart, Richt, and Mullen on board now, these are going to be exciting times and great competition! That’s good for everybody, so I sure as hell embrace it. GO GATORS!

  3. I completely regret that our NEW coach didn’t see fit to keep Randy Shannon. I don’t have to spell out all the advantages of keeping him, and I’m sure we will never know why he didn’t keep him. I have not seen or heard of WHO will replace Shannon, even if he was not retained as Def. Cord. he could serve as LB coach OR DB coach. I think we MISSED out on a good one here.

    • Yup, and a damn good one per all accounts. Especially c the base Shannon left him. If he’s everything people say he is, and if he can recruit, I don’t think we have any particular worries on that side of the ball.

    • Sorry guys, just a damn habit I got in. Retired doctor, that’s all, just brevity stuff I got so used to I wasn’t thinking. “c” = with, “s” = without, etc, etc. BTW, it’s not “what up wit dat”, it’s “what up c dat”! GO GATORS.

    • Tango yankee Gator, gotta be c, I mean, with a wife who’s main joy in life is pointing out when I’ve embarrassed myself in public! Good-thing-notta-bad-thing, otherwise I could walk into a room full of nuns, not say a word, and they’d all probably want to lynch me within 30 seconds.

      GO GATORS….