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UCF Names New QBs Coach, Co-Offensive Coordinators

A Josh Heupel disciple will be tasked with coaching up Dillon Gabriel and Co.

UCF QB Dillon Gabriel has a new position coach, and it’s a former quarterback who was once coached by Josh Heupel.
Photo: Derek Warden

The UCF Knights formally announced multiple changes to its coaching staff Monday, including a new quarterbacks coach who, during his playing days, was coached by Josh Heupel.

Joey Halzle has been promoted to QBs coach coach after spending last season as an offensive quality control coach for UCF. Alex Golesh has been brought in from Iowa State to serve as the tight ends coach and co-offensive coordinator. Golesh will share that OC title with Anthony Tucker, who has coached the Knights’ running backs for the past two seasons.

Heupel was Halzle’s QB coach from 2006-08 at Oklahoma. They then coached at Oklahoma together from 2009-2014, at Utah State in 2015 and at Missouri in 2016.

Halzle worked in the private sector in 2017 and 2018 before returning to the game and Heupel in 2019.

“I’ve either coached Joey or coached with him 10 of the last 12 years. He has a great understanding of what it means to play the quarterback position,” Heupel said in a statement released by UCF Athletics. “He’s a fantastic teacher and understands the preparation you have to put in. He knows what it feels like to be inside the pocket when you play the position, and I think that will be critically valuable for him inside our meeting room in dealing with Dillon Gabriel and Darriel Mack. I’m looking forward to him developing those two guys, helping them understand what defenses are doing and getting them to go play their best football.”

Halzle replaces Jeff Lebby, who departed to become the offensive coordinator at Ole Miss in December.

Golesh’s hiring was first reported a few days ago by The Des Moines Register. Golesh replaces Jon Cooper, UCF’s former TEs coach who took the same role at Arkansas earlier this month. Golesh has worked as a tight ends for the Cyclones as well as Illinois and Toledo over the past decade. He was also a recruiting coordinator at all three stops

“Alex is a tremendous teacher and motivator,” Heupel said. “He has done a great job of developing his guys wherever he has been. He has a fantastic track record as an elite recruiter. You look at what he has been able to do on the offensive side of the ball, developing the tight ends and the numbers they’ve put up--and so we’re excited about all the things he brings to what we do offensively and schematically.”

Golesh is joined by Tucker as co-offensive coordinators (although Heupel will continue to call the plays for UCF. The likes of Adrian Killins Jr., Greg McCrae, Otis Anderson and Bentavious Thompson helped set multiple program records under Tucker’s watch in 2018 and 2019.