Yesterday, the Virginia Tech Hokies beat the Virginia Cavaliers 23-20 to win the Commonwealth Cup for the 12th-straight time, and send the Hokies to a 23rd-straight bowl game. However, news broke that Memphis head coach Justin Fuente was going to be the next head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies, which Whit Babcock said wasn’t official after the game, but most knew it was coming.
Today, very few were surprised by this formal announcement from Virginia Tech.
— VT Football (@VT_Football) November 29, 2015
The Virginia Tech Hokies have formally announced that Justin Fuente will be the next head coach with Bud Foster staying to be Fuente’s defensive coordinator. For the last few days, most believed that Fuente was set to be the next head coach with today’s announcement confirming what most expected.
Once again, Whit Babcock handled this coaching search extremely well with Virginia Tech quickly getting their guy in Fuente. The Hokies also have been able to keep one of college football’s best defensive coordinators with Bud Foster staying on under Fuente.
Justin Fuente started out at Illinois State for six years from 2001 to 2006 before going to TCU. Fuente was the RBs coach at TCU from 2007 to 2008 and was the co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach from 2009 to 2011. While Fuente was at TCU, he coached Andy Dalton who helped lead the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season in 2010 and 2011 Rose Bowl victory.
Fuente took over the Memphis program after the 2011 season with the Tigers’ program coming off of five wins in the three seasons before he got there. Fuente built Memphis into a strong program that won 10 games in 2014, and has won 9 games this season including a win over an Ole Miss team that finished second in the SEC West.
Justin Fuente has proven himself as someone that can develop quarterbacks with Dalton at TCU being the most notable. Paxton Lynch is likely going to join Dalton in the NFL as a second Fuente quarterback with many projecting Lynch as a potential first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Fuente has proven that he can build a program and while he is a good recruiter, Fuente has proven to be an extremely good player-development guy that has been able to find plenty of under-the-radar guys and turn them into good football players. That will definitely work well at Virginia Tech in replacing Beamer who did plenty of developing under-the-radar guys.
Fuente gets an offensive unit that has plenty of potential with Dwayne Lawson having star potential at quarterback along with having skill position players like Isaiah Ford, Bucky Hodges, Travon McMillian, Cam Phillips, and Kalvin Cline all back next season.
Justin Fuente has proven himself as a talented offensive coach, solid recruiter, great player-developer, and program-builder that is a great hire for Virginia Tech. There is plenty of reason for excitement for Virginia Tech fans in the short-term, and in the long-run.