Heupel is finishing his second season at Missouri, which has put up big offensive numbers.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF,” said Heupel, who flew to Orlando on Monday night to meet with athletic director Danny White and Randy Shannon, who will be the Knights’ new defensive coordinator.
He served as quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma from 2006 to 2014 before being let go at his alma mater, where he played quarterback on the Sooners’ national championship team in 2000 and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
The 39-year-old spent the 2015 season at Utah State before joining Missouri’s staff.
“I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” White said in a prepared statement. “His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams.”
Missouri improved from 124th nationally in offense the year before Heupel arrived to 13th last year and seventh this season, averaging 511.5 yards and 39.3 points per game.
UCF also announced that Heupel is hiring Shannon as his defensive coordinator, which is the same job he had with Florida this past season.
Shannon served as the Gators’ interim head coach after Jim McElwain was fired. He also served as Miami’s head coach from 2007 to 2010 after serving as the school’s defensive coordinator.
“Randy is someone who I have always had a great deal of respect for throughout the years,” Heupel said. “Seeing what he’s been able to do with defenses, in addition to his ability to recruit this state, it’s extremely special and will be invaluable to our staff.”
UCF had targeted former Texas A&M and Houston coach Kevin Sumlin for its job, but talks didn’t progress on Sunday and the school turned its attention elsewhere.
Knights offensive coordinator Troy Walters, named acting head coach after Frost’s departure Saturday to Nebraska, interviewed for the job. It’s unclear whether Frost or Walters will coach UCF against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.