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Tennessee Volunteers give head football coach Josh Heupel $1 million raise and extension

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Tennessee coach Josh Heupel has received a contract extension and $1 million raise that will take his salary to $5 million annually, according to school officials.

Heupel, in his second season at Tennessee, has guided the Vols to a 2-0 start and No. 15 ranking in the AP poll. His new deal will extend through one year through Jan. 31, 2028, and his buyout is $8 million if he leaves for another job before Dec. 15, 2023 and drops $2 million a year after that date.

Heupel remains among the lowest-paid head coaches in the SEC. Missouri’s Eliah Drinkwitz ($4 million) and South Carolina’s Shane Beamer ($2.75 million) both make less. Vanderbilt is a private institution and does not release coaching salaries, but sources told ESPN that Clark Lea makes in the $3.75 million range.

The Vols went 7-6 a year ago in Heupel’s first season. He inherited a Tennessee program that had finished 3-7 the year before he was hired. Tennessee received a notice of allegations from the NCAA in July alleging 18 Level I violations that occurred under former coach Jeremy Pruitt and the previous staff. Tennessee has already self-imposed some penalties, including scholarship reductions.

When he was hired in 2021, Heupel became Tennessee’s fourth different head coach in the last 10 years. The Vols have not won more than eight games in the regular season since 2007, Phillip Fulmer’s next-to-last season.

Tennessee also beefed up the salaries of Heupel’s coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Alex Golesh received the biggest raise, as he went from $750,000 to $1.2 million.

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