Josh Heupel Named Finalist for FWAA First-Year Coach Steve Spurrier Award


Bill Martin
December 29, 2021

NASHVILLE – On the eve of the 2021 season finale of his volunteers at the TransPerfect Music City Bowl, the Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel was recognized by the Football Writers Association of America as a finalist for the Steve Spurrier First Year Coach Award, which is presented annually to the top coach in their first year at a school.

Heupel is in the running to become the first double winner of the Spurrier Award. He won it at UCF in 2018. The other finalists are Shane Beamer of South Carolina and Gus Malzahn of UCF.

Heupel led the Volunteers to a national resurgence, posting the most wins of any Power Five freshman head coaches this season. After breaking a record 3-7 a year ago, Tennessee was selected to finish fifth in the SEC East standings in its first season. However, the Vols have won three of their last four games, secured third place in the SEC East with a 4-4 score and earned seven wins to secure a spot in the bowling alley while playing one of the programs. toughest in college football.

The 27e Head coach in Tennessee history, Heupel is one of five Flight Head Coaches in the past 80 years to win seven or more games in his first season. UT’s offense has seen a remarkable turnaround under his leadership as the Vols finish in the domestic top 25 in seven different offensive categories, including scoring offense (38.8 – 9th), total offense (459 , 0 – 16th), ground offense (212.0 – 19th), yards per game (6.50 – 20th), passing efficiency (165.37 – 7th), third down attack (46.20 % – 11th) and attack of the first try (23.8 – 19th). The UT is just 18 points away from matching the school’s record for points in a season set by the 1993 team with 484 points.

Heupel enters Thursday’s TransPerfect Music City Bowl with an overall head coach record of 35-13. His 0.729 winning percentage ranks 11e among active FBS head coaches (at least two coaching seasons, all win as FBS head coach).

This will be the 20th consecutive year for the Freshman Coach’s Award, albeit the first time with a namesake for the award, Steve Spurrier. The winner will be announced in January 2022. Spurrier, along with former Chris Doering Mortgage player Chris Doering, is planning a dinner in February to honor the winner. The location of the dinner in the state of Florida will be announced at a later date.

The Flights and Purdue kicks off Thursday at 2:00 p.m. CT live on ESPN. Limited tickets to the contest remain on sale at Existing season ticket holders can renew their tickets for the 2022 season now by visiting Fans wishing to purchase new subscriptions for the 2022 campaign can apply by clicking HERE.


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