Friday marked the 2-year anniversary of Josh Heupel's introduction as Tennessee's football coach.
The Volunteers had just come off a three-win season in 2020 and were in the middle of NCAA and university investigations for alleged violations that occurred under former coach Jeremy Pruitt. Since Heupel's hiring, Tennessee has amassed an 18-8 record that includes this past season's 11-2 squad that ended a 15-year losing streak to Alabama in October, ascended to the top of the College Football Playoff rankings in November and whipped Clemson 31-14 in the Orange Bowl in December.
Heupel, who had spent the previous three seasons as head coach at Central Florida, started out making $4 million annually but is now up to $9 million due to his nearly overnight success.
What was said on Jan. 27, 2021 during Heupel's introductory news conference? Here is a look back:
"All the elements to win here are here. You are the biggest show. You walk out in that stadium, and there are 100,000-plus fans in there. Your facilities are as good as there are in the entire country, and you're going to get a world-class education. A lot of the infrastructure that you need to be successful is absolutely here. Now it's about putting the right people in place to reach our young people so that we can have sustainable success here."
– Heupel on the Tennessee job
"I had a very frank conversation with every person of leadership about what had transpired and what they believe is going to transpire as far as any penalty, and the reason I'm standing here today is that I believe in a very, very bright future."
– Heupel on the investigation
"We had an exhaustive nationwide search, and I know that sounds crazy, because I'm hiring the guy I worked with for the last three years. If anything, I was trying not to hire the head coach from UCF."
– Tennessee athletic director Danny White on the hire
"We got what we needed, not what outsiders thought we needed."
– Former Vols cornerback Alontae Taylor on the hire
"We're going to play with tempo here, and we're going to be the aggressor. We're going to play with our skill players out in space. We're going to give them an opportunity to push the football down the field, and if you've watched what we do, we're extremely balanced from a run/pass standpoint. At the same time, that aggressive mentality we have on the offensive side of the football is going to carry over to what we're doing on the defensive side. We will be multiple in our fronts, and we want to create negative plays."
– Heupel on his coaching style
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