University of Missouri

Who else is following former MU assistant Josh Heupel to Central Florida?

Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, pictured here, is taking another Tigers assistant with him to Orlando.
Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, pictured here, is taking another Tigers assistant with him to Orlando. AP

Former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has taken another member of the Tigers football staff with him to Central Florida.

Heupel, who was named the new head coach of the Knights last week, announced that Kurt Schmidt will be his director of sports performance. Schmidt was with Missouri this season as director of applied performance for the football program. He worked closely with Rohrk Cutchlow, Missouri’s director of athletic performance, and was beloved by the players.

Schmidt is the second coach Heupel has taken from Barry Odom’s staff since his departure — he’ll join offensive line coach Glen Elarbee in Orlando.

Elarbee was named Central Florida’s offensive line coach in the same news release that announced Schmidt’s hire, which makes his departure from Missouri more interesting. He essentially left Odom’s staff for the same job, which is a backward move in the coaching world since Missouri is a Power-5 conference job and Central Florida is not.

Missouri has had offensive analyst Jon Cooper filling in as offensive line coach for Elarbee, and already has players vouching for him to get the job full-time.

Of Missouri’s remaining coaches that could interest Heupel, tight ends coach Joe Jon Finley is the only likely option. Finley was coached by Heupel during his playing days at Oklahoma and was a graduate assistant for him with the Sooners.

After Missouri’s bowl practice on Friday, Finley said his future was with the Tigers. Missouri plays Texas in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 27. Neither Heupel nor Elarbee will coach in that game.

Tigers coaches Cornell Ford and Andy Hill have been at Missouri for years and have no ties to Heupel before his time at MU. Heupel named former Florida interim coach Randy Shannon as his defensive coordinator shortly after his hiring, meaning none of Missouri’s current defensive coaches are likely candidates to head to Orlando. Shannon would likely want to hire coaches he knows.

Alex Schiffer: 816-234-4064, @TheSchiffMan

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