Tennessee's Josh Heupel addresses Oklahoma job: 'We love being in Knoxville'

Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel during an SEC football game between Tennessee and Georgia at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.
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Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel tried to squash speculation about his speculated candidacy for the vacant job at Oklahoma, his alma mater.

On Tuesday, Heupel addressed the situation on "The Erik Ainge Show" on 99.1 FM The Sports Animal. He said he staying at UT.

"Yeah, we absolutely love Tennessee and believe in what we're going to be building here," Heupel said. "(We) can't be happier and more excited about what we're going to be able to do next year and in the coming years."

Heupel has only been at UT since being hired in January, following Jeremy Pruitt's firing amid an NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations.

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"We love being in Knoxville. That's home for us," Heupel said. "I love being in the building with our staff and our players. And I feel stronger today than I did 10 months ago, when I first took the job, about what we're going to be able to do and how quickly we're going to be able to get there. I know we're building a championship caliber football team and program. I'm excited to continue on that venture with our current players and staff.

"We absolutely love Tennessee and believe in what we're building here."

Heupel was a Heisman Trophy runner-up quarterback and led Oklahoma to the 2000 national championship. He was also the Sooners' offensive coordinator before Bob Stoops fired him following the 2014 season.

Heupel went 7-5 with the Vols and became the fifth UT coach in the past 70 years to earn bowl eligibility in his first season.

The Oklahoma job came open because Lincoln Riley went to Southern Cal. Heupel has been on the road recruiting since beating Vanderbilt in the regular-season finale. On Monday, he landed a commitment from cornerback Christian Harrison, the son of former NFL All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison.

"As you build a successful program with your staff and players, certainly your name has an opportunity to come up for different openings," Heupel said. "Just for myself and my family, we absolutely love Knoxville. And we came to Tennessee because of the power of the T. We believe in the power of the fan base and the opportunity to build something extremely special."

Reach Adam Sparks at adam.sparks@knoxnews.com and on Twitter @AdamSparks.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee's Josh Heupel addresses Oklahoma job: 'We love ... Knoxville'

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