While the focus this week has been on who Josh Heupel will hire as the Tennessee Vols’ defensive coordinator, it’s easy to forget that his entire offensive on-field staff is in place.
Heupel is bringing most of his offensive staff from UCF.
Here’s how it breaks down.
- Alex Golesh — Offensive coordinator/tight ends
- Joey Halzle — Quarterbacks
- Kodi Burns — Wide receivers
- Glen Elarbee — Offensive line
- Jerry Mack — Running backs
Note: Jerry Mack is the only offensive coach that wasn’t hired by Heupel at UCF. Mack is a Memphis native who was previously the offensive coordinator at Rice and the head coach at North Carolina Central.
Golesh is a particularly interesting assistant for Heupel.
I’ll be honest — before Heupel was hired at Tennessee, I had never heard of Golesh. But after doing some research, I think he might be a rising star in college football.
Working as Heupel’s offensive coordinator is a bit different than working for someone like Jeremy Pruitt. Heupel calls the plays. But despite the fact that Golesh won’t be calling plays for Heupel (for the most part), he’s still going to be a very important part of Tennessee’s staff.
— Alex Golesh (@CoachGolesh) February 14, 2021
Golesh is a tremendous recruiter. It’s likely one of the reasons why Heupel hired him away from Iowa State (there was no previous connection between Golesh and Heupel) in early 2020.
Matt Campbell hired Golesh at Iowa State as part of his inaugural staff prior to the 2016 season. The Cyclones’ recruiting immediately improved.
Behind Golesh’s efforts, Iowa State’s recruiting has sky-rocketed, recording four of the best classes in school history, according to the Iowa State football program. The last four Cyclone recruiting classes have all ranked in the nation’s top-50, including a pair of top-40 classes. The 2019 Iowa State recruiting class is the best in school history according to 247Sports, ranking No. 39 nationally and compiling a program-best .8550 composite rating.
Without Golesh on staff, Iowa State’s recruiting has returned to earth a bit. The Cyclones’ 2021 recruiting class was ranked No. 59 in the nation.
Part of the reason Golesh is such a strong recruiter is because he has a passion for it. It’s not something that’s part of the job that he has to do (which is how a lot of college football assistants view the recruiting aspect of the job). Recruiting is something that Golesh enjoys doing. And it’s evident in his recruiting philosophy.
“These young people are looking for somebody that that’s going to have their back and take care of them,” said Golesh to the Orlando Sentinel last year. “I think I’ve always felt like if you can evaluate and narrow down exactly what you’re looking for, then go develop a genuine relationship.”
Golesh also understands that every recruit is different. And you can’t use the same approach with every student-athlete.
“There are so many different situations as you deal with every young man, and just understanding that every young man is different,” explained Golesh. “It all comes down to relationships and working hard at it. And I know that’s a little bit of a cliché answer, but it’s the truth.”
In addition, to be a great recruiter, Golesh is also a solid position coach. Under his guidance, Charlie Kolar became an All-American tight end at Iowa State. Kolar also earned All-Big 12 honors.
Tight end play has been lacking at Tennessee for the last several years. Golesh should immediately provide some relief in that area.
Golesh might be a bit of an unknown for the Vols right now, but I have a feeling he’s going to become a fan-favorite in the coming years.
Of course, if Golesh ends up becoming a star in the SEC, it could be tough for Heupel to keep him on Rocky Top.
But then again, if other programs are trying to poach assistant coaches (or if assistants are getting head coaching interviews), then it likely means that Heupel is doing something right.
Featured image via Orlando Sentinel