Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh will be the new football coach at South Florida, according to multiple reports.
It ends a short but immensely successful two-year run for Golesh as coach Josh Heupel's right-hand man in designing the best offense in college football.
Golesh, 38, is a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football.
The Vols rank No. 1 in scoring offense and total offense in FBS. Quarterback Hendon Hooker is a Heisman Trophy candidate. Wide receiver Jalin Hyatt is a Biletnikoff finalist. And Tennessee is a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, given to college football's best offensive line.
Golesh would replace former Clemson wide receivers coach Jeff Scott, who had a 4-26 record and 1-19 mark in the American Athletic Conference in three seasons at USF.
How will Golesh's exit impact Vols in bowl?
Tennessee has not confirmed his departure. But Heupel will hold a conference call with media Sunday following the Vols' bowl selection.
No. 8 Tennessee (10-2) is awaiting a bid to a New Year's Six bowl, likely the Orange Bowl against ACC champion Clemson. It is unknown whether Golesh will coach the Vols offense in the bowl or head immediately to USF.
The latter seems more likely. The early signing period opens Dec. 21, so Golesh would have work to do hiring a staff and recruiting at USF. If so, Heupel would take the sole role in play-calling duties.
Heupel has collaborated with Golesh and numerous assistants to design the fastest-operating offense in college football. He and Golesh have shared play-calling duties, but they'd shied away from discussing their specific contributions.
Golesh was a no-brainer as head-coaching candidate
This isn't shocking news for Golesh or the Vols.
He is Tennessee's first Broyles Award finalist since former offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe won the the honor during the Vols' 1998 national title season and parlayed it into a head-coaching gig at Ole Miss.
And other past Broyles Award winners have used the recognition to get on the fast track to a head-coaching job. They include Kirby Smart, Lincoln Riley, Pat Narduzzi, Gus Malzahn and Steve Sarkisian, among others.
This year's Broyles Award winner will be announced Tuesday. Other finalists are Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter, Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken, TCU offensive coordinator Garrett Riley and Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters. By then, Golesh could be officially named the USF coach.
Tennessee did its part to try to keep Golesh as long as it could.
In August, Golesh's pay was raised from $750,000 to $1.2 million annually. And his contract was extended through the 2024 season. Tennessee gave Heupel and every assistant a raise and one-year contract extension before this season.
Golesh's college coaching career started an an Ohio State student assistant. He served on staffs at Northern Illinois (2006-07), Oklahoma State (2008), Toledo (2009-11), Illinois (2012-15), Iowa State (2016-19) and Central Florida (2020).
That last stop at UCF was under Heupel, who brought him to Tennessee. Now Golesh will return to Florida for his first head-coaching position.
Reach Adam Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AdamSparks.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh to be South Florida coach