BREAKING: Heupel Fills Tennessee’s Offensive Coordinator Vacancy

BREAKING: Heupel Fills Tennessee's Offensive Coordinator Vacancy

Quarterbacks Coach Joey Halzle of the Tennessee Volunteers during practice on the Robert E. White indoor field in the Anderson Training Center in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee is promoting quarterback’s coach Joey Halzle to be its newest offensive coordinator, ESPN’s Pete Thamel first reported and Tennessee later announced Thursday morning.

Halzle replaces Alex Golesh who left Knoxville after two years to become the new head coach at South Florida. Halzle has been on Tennessee’s staff each of the last two years and has been a key cog in the Vols’ offensive game planning.

“Joey has been instrumental in our record-setting offensive success over the past two seasons, and he’s built great trust within our team,” Josh Heupel said in a statement Thursday. “I have known Joey for over 15 years, and his track record of player development has impacted every place he has been.

“He has complete knowledge of our aggressive offensive identity and principles. Having played and coached at this level, he understands how to connect with players and will continue to make a significant impact in recruiting. This will be a seamless transition for him as we strive to build a championship program that Vol Nation is proud of.”

The 35-year old hasn’t just been with Josh Heupel the last two seasons but for his entire career. Halzle played for Heupel at Oklahoma where he was a backup quarterback from 2004-07 and joined the Sooners’ staff as an offensive quality control assistant.

Halzle was an off the field coach in Norman for six years before following Heupel to Utah State to be an offensive analyst and assistant quarterback’s coach. The California native served in the same role a year later at Missouri before stepping away from football for two seasons.

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The Oak Park, California native returned to football and Heupel’s staff at Central Florida is 2019 where he was an offensive analyst. Halzle finally broke through a year later when he became the Knights’ quarterback coach.

Heupel brought Halzle with him to Knoxville in the same capacity. Two-years later, Heupel gives Halzle — at 35-years old — his first shot at a coordinator job.

“I am grateful to Coach Heupel for this opportunity, and I look forward to building on the dynamic offensive success we have achieved thus far,” Halzle said. “Our offense will continue to be the attacking, sophisticated and up-tempo unit that Vol Nation is accustomed to, while maximizing the potential we have as a team and individually. I have great appreciation for our players and want them to fulfill their aspirations at Tennessee. It’s our job as teachers to put them in a position to be successful—on and off the field—and have fun while doing it.”

Heupel called plays for Tennessee’s Orange Bowl win over Clemson while Halzle served as his eyes in the press box and certainly had a much larger role than he has the rest of the season. Whether Halzle or Heupel will call plays next season is unclear.

Calling plays was a collaborative effort for Heupel and Golesh though the new USF head coach seemingly had significant say.

Despite promoting Halzle, Tennessee still has an open spot on Heupel’s coaching staff. The Vols’ still need a new tight ends coach— the position Golesh coached while offensive coordinator.

Author: Ethan Moore