The Tennessee Vols took care of an important offseason task on Tuesday that absolutely had to get done.
Tennessee announced on Tuesday that Vols head coach Josh Heupel has signed an extension that will increase his annual pay to $9 million per season. He was previously earning $5 million annually.
The new contract runs through 2029.
Heupel is now among the top 10 highest-paid coaches in the nation and he’s the fifth highest-paid coach in the SEC (behind Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, Brian Kelly, and Jimbo Fisher).
VolQuest’s Brent Hubbs first reported the news shortly before Tennessee announced the new deal.
Here’s new buyout info via VolQuest:
If Heupel were dismissed without cause prior to December 15, 2025, then Tennessee would owe him 100% of what he would be owed through the remained of the contract. The buyout drops to 75% if termination occurs between December 15, 2025 and December 14, 2027. On December 15, 2027, the buyout falls to 50%.
✍️ Our Coach!— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) January 24, 2023
2022 AP SEC Coach of the Year and National Coach of the Year Finalist Josh Heupel has earned a contract extension through January 2029.#GBO 🍊
“The results over Josh’s first two seasons speak for themselves,” said UT athletic director Danny White in a statement. “He and his staff have energized both our football program and our fanbase with an aggressive brand of football, a competitive culture that creates leaders and a relentless approach to raising the bar every single day. Despite a brief period of dormancy, Tennessee never surrendered its status as a college football powerhouse. We just needed an innovative leader like Josh Heupel to reignite the spark. It’s been fun to crash the party, but as Josh said after our Orange Bowl triumph, the best is yet to come.”
“I am grateful to President Boyd, Chancellor Plowman, Danny White and of Vol Nation for their tremendous support,” added Heupel. “Our staff takes great pride in representing the Power T, and it’s something we never take for granted. We will continue to work tirelessly to build a championship program that all of Vol Nation and all VFLs can be proud of.”
“Most importantly, our players are the people who deserve all of the credit for our resurgence on Rocky Top. Over the last two years, they believed in us and poured their energy into every single day with hard work, leadership, cohesiveness and consistent habits. I am proud to be their coach.”
$9 million might sound like a lot, but Heupel proved last season that he’s among the best coaches in the entire nation. Taking a team from 3-7 to 11-2 in two years is beyond impressive — especially when you consider the NCAA investigation that was hanging over the program, plus the extreme amount of players that left Tennessee in early 2021 after Jeremy Pruitt was fired.
Great coaches get paid. And Heupel is certainly a great coach. This new deal ensures that Heupel isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And that can be used as a selling point in recruiting.
The Vols finally got their guy two years ago. Now they’re making sure they keep him.
Featured image via USA TODAY Sports