Justin Fuente Rumored as Potential Candidate for TCU Head Coaching Job

Justin Fuente Rumored as Potential Candidate for TCU Head Coaching Job
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Nov 02, 2021

The college football world received a major surprise last night when TCU announced that they were parting ways with head coach Gary Patterson after 21 years together. Those included five years where Justin Fuente was on staff with Fuente being the offensive coordinator for the TCU team that went undefeated and won the Rose Bowl.

Even though Patterson is parting ways now and not finishing out the season as the TCU head coach, it appears that Patterson will have a role in the transition and potentially in the search based on the wording of TCU AD Jeremiah Donati's statement.

If TCU makes the Patterson coaching tree a priority in this search, then Justin Fuente's name seems like a top priority. Even without that being an explicit thing internally, Fuente's TCU ties from some of the best years of the Patterson era in Forth Worth combined with his success at Memphis and Southwest roots make him a potential name to watch.

That has been backed up by the fact that Fuente has been mentioned as a potential candidate on multiple watch lists from Athlon Sports, Dave Campbell's Texas Football, SB Nation's Frogs O' War, and a couple others from major, national sources that are behind paywalls. Of course, Fuente's struggles over the past four seasons in Blacksburg are hurting his chances at this point but if there's going to be a Power 5 head coaching job immediately after a likely separation from the Hokies, this is the most likely one by far.

It's well-known that Fuente looks up to Gary Patterson and sees him as a mentor/role model coaching figure in many ways. When asked if he had the chance to speak with Patterson yet, Fuente said he hadn't but that he planned to while beginning to heap loads of praise on the longtime TCU head coach.

"I haven't talked to him yet. We're in a little bit of a crunch here. Our time is of the essence. Usually, we don't have much time for social calls during the week anyway. That's a half a county away from me right now. I do anticipate getting a chance to visit with him. There's not a person that's been more impactful to that university then Coach (Gary) Patterson. He's affected a lot of lives in a lot of ways, I'm talking about players and coaches, secretaries, recruiting staff. Maybe there's another time where I'm a little more up-to-date with everything that's going on outside of our office that I have more to say about it other than he's a fine man and a fine coach, and had a huge impact on my life," Fuente said.

When asked about the biggest lesson that Fuente took from Gary Patterson, the Hokies' head coach had this to say.

"Just the way he went about work every single day. You look at someone who could walk out of the office and go do whatever they want. He could go travel anywhere, do anything he wanted to do with the intensity with which he approached every single day was remarkable. The passion that he coached, sometimes hard. A lot easier on the offensive coaches than sometimes the defensive coaches. I just know this, I always appreciated how he always treated me and my family as a boss. I always felt like he was somebody I could walk in there and ask questions to and about, and have all these conversations about what we were doing on offense or what is was like in his role, and he was always willing to share that which I appreciated," Fuente said.