Fuente was a highly regarded coach at Memphis and Virginia Tech, but his inability to reach the NCAA playoffs put pressure on him in Blacksburg.
Justin Fuente, the third-year head coach of Virginia Tech Hokies football team has been relieved of his duties. The move comes after a disappointing 3-9 season in which the Yellow Jackets lost 7 out of their last 8 games and failed to produce any wins against Power 5 conference teams.
The “virginia tech football coach candidates” is a list of coaches that have been brought up as possible replacements for Justin Fuente.
Justin Fuente, who led Virginia Tech to a 43-31 record in six seasons, is no longer the Hokies’ football coach, according to athletic director Whit Babcock.
J.C. Price, the defensive line coach, will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season while the school conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
In a statement, Babcock said, “We genuinely appreciate Coach Fuente’s efforts to our football program and the excellent influence he had on our student-athletes during his tenure at Virginia Tech.” “While change is never easy, I feel the time was ripe for new leadership of our football program in order for our football team to achieve the sort of sustained success that is anticipated at Virginia Tech.”
By making the move now, the Hokies will owe Fuente a $8.75 million buyout, which was reduced from a $10 million offer. The buyout would have been $7.5 million if they had waited until December 15th.
Fuente has a 69-54 career record, including four seasons as Memphis’ head coach.
“To the many wonderful young men I had the honor of coaching, so many of you have left an indelible impression on our family,” Fuente said in a statement. “I can’t express my gratitude enough for your devotion and commitment to giving it your all, whether on the field, in the classroom, or in your personal life.
“… I’d want to express my gratitude to the Hokie Nation followers. I would urge everyone to keep cheering for this football squad because your support means a lot to them.”
In 2015, Fuente was hired from Memphis to replace renowned Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, and the choice was originally praised for a number of reasons. Not only had Fuente brought a floundering Memphis school back to life in four years, including a 10-win season in 2014, but he had also agreed to maintain defensive coordinator Bud Foster, who had been a key part of the Hokies’ success under Beamer.
During his time at Memphis and before to that as offensive coordinator at TCU, Fuente was recognized for his ability to produce quarterbacks, and offense was the most pressing issue for Virginia Tech. It became a continual fight to achieve bowl eligibility in the later years of Beamer’s tenure, with an offensive that was nowhere near as effective as it needed to be.
Fuente had a strong start to his career, finishing 10-4 with a tight defeat to Clemson in the ACC title game. The Hokies went on to win nine games the next season. However, problems began to appear shortly after. Foster’s effectiveness as a defensive coordinator had waned, and the team began to suffer, therefore he stepped down following the 2019 season.
Player transfers were also a big problem for Virginia Tech. The gateway has cost the Hokies 43 players by May 2021, including former starting quarterbacks Josh Jackson (Maryland) and Hendon Hooker (Virginia) (Tennessee). Fuente struggled to recruit at Virginia, but his failure to develop a quarterback after Jerod Evans departed after the 2016 season was possibly the most egregious. The fact that Hooker went on to have instant success with Tennessee this season further adds to that argument.
Furthermore, when Fuente spoke with Baylor about their vacant head-coaching position in 2020, he rubbed some folks in Blacksburg the wrong way. Despite the hostility that surrounded the program after 2020 concluded, Babcock decided to continue with Fuente for another season following a 5-6 season.
At the moment, Babcock remarked, “I believe in Justin.” “Keeping someone when everyone is shouting isn’t necessarily the trendy thing to do, but he’s our man, and I feel he provides us the greatest opportunity to succeed.”
However, the same problems have remained this season, with Virginia Tech sitting at 5-5 heading into Saturday’s game against Miami. The persistent troubles on offense, where Braxton Burmeister has been unable to turn things around as quarterback for the Hokies, are, of course, most noticeable. With painful last-minute defeats to West Virginia, Notre Dame, and Syracuse — the Hokies squandering late-game opportunities in each of those games — it became impossible to keep Fuente as coach.
Shane Beamer is the new Virginia Tech Hokies football coach. Beamer was a former assistant to Justin Fuente and has been coaching for over 30 years. Reference: shane beamer.
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