News broke last night that AJ Artis was leaving his post as Tennessee's Director of Sports Performance to take the same title at South Florida. Josh Heupel had already brought several key pieces with him to Knoxville, meaning Tennessee was in a position to promote from within to replace Artis, and they have now done so.
Kurt Schmidt will take over the role with the title as "Director of Competition Development."
A press release from the university states:
With 19 years of combined collegiate and NFL experience in sports performance and strength and conditioning, Kurt Schmidt enters his first season as Tennessee’s director of competition development. Schmidt oversees the Volunteers’ strength and conditioning and sports performance efforts.
The 2021 season is Schmidt’s fifth straight working alongside Josh Heupel. Schmidt served as the director of sports performance at UCF from 2018-20, an era that saw the Knights establish themselves as one of the fastest and fittest teams in college football. UCF produced a 28-8 record during his tenure, won the 2018 The American Athletic Conference title and reached three straight bowl games, including the 2019 Fiesta Bowl. Schmidt developed strategy to integrate technology with performance on a daily basis, while also overseeing the weight room renovation of the Gault-Kohn Sports Performance Center.
Prior to his time in Orlando, Schmidt served as director of applied performance for football at Missouri in 2017 when Heupel was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He helped lead Mizzou to a 7-5 mark, including a six-game winning streak to end the regular season en route to a Texas Bowl berth.
Schmidt spent four years prior to his stop at Mizzou as a strength, conditioning and nutrition assistant with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. With the 49ers, he was responsible for the training programs for quarterbacks and specialists, along with supervising the reconditioning program for athletes returning from injury. He initiated and coordinated a nutrition education program. During his first season of 2013, San Francisco compiled a 12-4 regular-season record, won back-to-back playoff games and earned a berth to the NFC Championship.
Tennessee has already hit the ground running with off-season workouts, as Josh Heupel looks to build continuity and team morale in Knoxville. Smith will be key in jumpstarting this for the Volunteer program.