Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel is perhaps best known for being the quarterback that led the Oklahoma Sooners to a national championship in 2000.

But before Heupel was a quarterback for Oklahoma, he was a quarterback at Weber State.

Heupel redshirted as a freshman at Weber State in 1996, before competing for the starting job in 1997.

Unfortunately for Heupel, he tore his ACL in Weber State’s spring game. A torn ACL in the spring would typically cost an athlete an entire season.

Heupel, however, was determined to play in 1997.

The South Dakota native moved to Indianapolis with his dad to live in a hotel near the rehab facility where Heupel had his ACL surgery.

Dave Arslanian, who served as Heupel’s head coach at Weber State, recently detailed the incredible recovery to VolsWire’s Dan Haralson.

From VolsWire:

“Josh ends up going there and having the surgery. June, July, and August – two and a half months later – he is ready to start two-a-days. We wouldn’t let him, but we did let him practice once a day.”

“He ends up not being able to play the first couple of games, but he is then ready to play. We started working him in there and he ended up taking over the starting job about mid-year. Just his sheer determination, that was Josh Heupel.”

Arslanian left for Utah State after the 1997 season. Jerry Graybeal took over as the head coach at Weber State and installed a run-heavy offense. Heupel saw the writing on the wall and transferred to Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

Mike Leach, then the Sooners’ offensive coordinator, ended up bringing Heupel to Oklahoma after the 1998 season and the rest is history.

If a college football coach is going to be successful, there has to an insatiable desire to win.

Heupel clearly has that desire. And it’s been evident since his days at Weber State when no one outside of South Dakota or Utah even knew his name.

Featured image via Tennessee Athletic Communications