If there was any doubt left about whether Oklahoma Sooners co-offensive coordinator — and former starting quarterback — Josh Heupel would have a long-term future with the team going forward, those doubts were answered today as he agreed to a new three-year deal which will pay him a base salary of $550,000 annually, a $200,000 raise from what he earned in 2012.
Interestingly enough, similar raises or extensions were not offered to two of the other high-profile Oklahoma assistants, Mike Stoops and Jay Norvell who are in current contracts — but regardless, the gesture shows plenty of what Bob Stoops, the Oklahoma athletic administration and Board of Regents thinks about Heupel and his future in Norman.
It’s not necessarily reasonable to suggest that Heupel could be in the midst of being groomed to take over for Bob Stoops at some point given Stoops likely has plenty of years left with the Sooners and has certainly earned enough goodwill via his success that he would survive even the roughest season, but it’s interesting to draw a parallel to another high-profile ex-quarterback in a similar co-offensive coordinator role at a major rival, the Texas Longhorns‘ Major Applewhite.
In spite of a brief scandal which centered around an illicit one-night affair with a former student trainer at UT, Applewhite is still believed by many to be a front-runner to take over the Texas program when Mack Brown decides it is his time to walk away. It certainly appears that Josh Heupel could have a similar opportunity in Norman if the Oklahoma offenses continue to put up huge numbers as they have in the past, and in spite of the normal attrition, all the pieces are in place for that to happen in 2013.
If Josh Heupel can turn Blake Bell into a quarterback even 2/3 as effective as Landry Jones, any investment in the short-term made by Oklahoma will certainly see a long-term return.