Central Florida tabs Missouri coordinator Josh Heupel as coach

Central Florida hired Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as its head coach on Tuesday.

Heupel, who is finishing his second season at Missouri, replaces Scott Frost at the position. Frost, a former Nebraska quarterback who coached UCF to a 12-0 record and an American Athletic Conference championship, was named the Cornhuskers’ coach last weekend.

While the coaching staff is in a state of flux, the Knights are expected to have Frost and his staff on the sideline for the team’s game in the Peach Bowl against Auburn on Jan. 1.

Heupel, however, is looking forward to the task ahead.

“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF,” the 39-year-old Heupel said in a press release.

“What makes this opportunity so unique is the vision of the leadership from President John Hitt, Provost Dale Whitaker and Director of Athletics Danny White. Their vision for this becoming one of the premier programs in the country makes this an exciting opportunity.”

Central Florida also announced former Florida defensive coordinator Randy Shannon to the same position with the school. Shannon served as the Gators’ interim head coach after Jim McElwain was fired.

Before joining Missouri, Heupel was with Utah State in 2015 after spending nine seasons as an assistant at Oklahoma, including the final four as co-offensive coordinator. His first full-time coaching job was coaching tight ends at Arizona under then-head coach Mike Stoops.

UCF hired a head coach with a similar background as Frost’s. Heupel is a former quarterback — he played two seasons at Oklahoma, leading the Sooners to the 2000 national championship and finishing second in the Heisman race — and is a young, rising star in the profession with a resume filled with prolific offenses.

“I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” White said in a statement.

“His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams.”

Under Heupel’s watch, Missouri improved from 124th nationally in offense to 13th in 2016. Tigers quarterback Drew Lock set an SEC record with 43 touchdown passes this season, earning first-team all-conference honors.

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