Josh Heupel said he became the new UCF soccer coach in a lifelong dream.
And the head coach understands the high expectations he faces by replacing Scott Frost, who led the Knights to the first season 12-0 in school history.
"There is pressure, absolutely," said Heupel, 39. "But there is no more pressure than what I would have already imposed"
"I've played on big stages, in great games, I've trained in them, and at the end of the day, when you cross those white lines, it's all the same I will be consistent and faithful to what I am and how I interact with the players, I will build this program from where it is and take it to higher altitudes.
"But I think it's special to be able to take control of a program that he has a mark of 12-0 and has the opportunity to play in an excellent way. "
Heupel, a former offensive coordinator for Missouri, was introduced as the 11th head coach in the history of UCF on Tuesday afternoon shortly after meeting with American football players during a private meeting of the Former Florida assistant coach Randy Shannon was also introduced as the new defensive coordinator of the program.
Heupel's employee concluded a quick search that lasted approximately 48 hours after the news of the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. from UCF that Frost left to accept the head coach UCF athletic director, Danny White, said the two most important factors he sought during his coaching quest were the high-character coaches who committed to continuing to manage the brand accelerated rhythm football score developed by Frost.
Heupel fit well.
"Josh ma I took the interview, "White told reporters.
Heupel was not sure if he would retain the two remaining assistant coaches from Frost, Troy Walters and Sean Beckton. But Heupel was clear that he does not want to rebuild an already solid base that produced the only unbeaten team in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
He plans to run an accelerated, no-play pass options offense that highlights the various players on the list, including Otis Anderson Jr., Adrian Killins, Gabe Davis and, of course, McKenzie Milton.
Even Shannon, who has run with a 4-3 base defense for most of his long coaching career, said he would continue the current 3-4 team base with the various lineups and looks like the former defensive coordinator Erik Chinander.
"You let those guys rely on that," said Shannon, referring to the players' relationships with former staff. "But it's based on what UCF is about and it's about a family."
The X and the Os are the easy parts to understand for Heupel and his staff to be announced. The biggest challenge is to win the confidence of a group of players who still face the surprising departure of the previous coaching staff.
Frost and his assistants are expected to return to Orlando to help players prepare for the Peach Bowl game on January 1. Heupel plans to travel to Atlanta to watch the game with White in the club suite.
"Whenever there is a transition, there is always uncertainty, the players are looking for what this next coach is going to do," Heupel said. "So I was able to analyze the traits and characteristics we will try to infuse them in. I talked to them about the environment that we will try to create when they come through the door every day.
But in the end I told them this, & # 39; Those are the words [and] the actions speak more than the words & # 39 ;. But I promised them as we go forward, they will understand what I say is going to be sincere and I hope that they gain their confidence as we move forward in this process " .
Heupel said he plans to meet with the players individually in the coming weeks as he works to put UCF's recruiting class on track before the new initial soccer registration period between December 20 and 22. The new coach will also work to gather a staff. Frost took almost all of his support staff with him to Nebraska.
"Trust is something that does not happen only overnight," Heupel said. "… If we can trust each other, then we have the opportunity to pursue another championship."
Heupel, like Frost, has experience in winning championships.
Frost won his national championship in Nebraska, while Heupel was a consensus. – American quarterback who led Oklahoma to the 2000 national title.
Both are sons of football coaches.
Heupel attended Weber State and suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament before arriving in Oklahoma.
He was an associate journalist of the Year, Walter Camp Award winner and Archie Griffin Award winner in 2000 who thrived under the direction of Sooners offensive coordinator Mike Leach.
After brief periods with the Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers, he worked as a graduate assistant in Oklahoma in 2004, a tight end coach in Arizona in 2005 and a quarterback coach and then an offensive coordinator in Oklahoma from 2006 to 14
During his tenure as coordinator of Sooners, he helped Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford wins the Heisman Trophy.
Heupel was assistant coach and offensive coordinator in the state of Utah in 2015 before assuming as offensive coordinator and quarterback for Missouri in 2016.
Heupel helped Mizzou's quarterback to go through a difficult season 2016 to lead the SEC to pass in 2017. Lock was 224 of 385 passes for 3,695 yards, 43 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
When Lock improved, so did the Tigers. Missouri was 4-8 last season. This year, Mizzou is 7-5 and will face Texas at the Texas Bowl on December 27.
The leaders of UCF, Heupel and Missouri have not decided if it will help train the Tigers during their plate.
Send an email to Shannon Green at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ osknights and as the UCF Facebook page of the Sentinel to get the latest updates from the Knights.