Heupel’s contract was amended in July to extend the agreement an additional year through the 2027 season. It will also raise his average annual compensation to $5 million.
The addendum also adds a buyout clause that requires Heupel to pay $8 million if he leaves for another major coaching job before Dec. 15, 2023. The buyout payment decreases by $2 million each year through the life of the contract.
If the university were to fire Heupel without cause before Dec. 15, 2024, Heupel would be paid 100% of his contract. The separation payment decreases by 25% annually through 2026.
After a surprising 7-6 record in his first year in charge, the Vols have started his second season in charge 2-0. Heupel became the first Tennessee coach since the beginning of the AP Poll era to defeat a top-20 opponent on the road in each of his first two seasons at the helm with the dramatic overtime win over Pittsburgh.
Heupel, 44, is the 27th head coach in Tennessee football history. He was a prolific quarterback at Oklahoma and finished as 2000 Heisman Trophy runner-up. The South Dakota native came to Tennessee after three seasons at UCF where led the Knights to a 28-8 record and an appearance in the 2018 Fiesta Bowl.