Sonny Dykes, Billy Napier Linked With Potential Virginia Tech Opening

Sonny Dykes, Billy Napier Linked With Potential Virginia Tech Opening
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Oct 31, 2021

Virginia Tech beat Georgia Tech 26-17 but that did little to change the reality that Justin Fuente is on the hottest seat in America and that a coaching change is seemingly inevitable in Blacksburg after this season.

Before Saturday's game, FOX Sports insider and The Athletic CFB writer Bruce Feldman shared on FOX's Big Noon Kickoff that SMU head coach Sonny Dykes is a name to watch if Virginia Tech opens up.

Dykes has been linked with a few Power 5 jobs including the openings at Texas Tech and TCU, one that could even be a job to watch for Justin Fuente given his ties to the program as their offensive coordinator for their Rose Bowl team.

There's no doubt that Dykes fits the mold of a high-octane offense guy that was the goal when the Hokies hired Justin Fuente. Dykes has also had plenty of success at SMU at 29-15 with the Mustangs currently on pace for their second 10+ win season in the past three years.

However, there may be a couple red flags that may give some fans and internals worries given that he has only spent one year in his career coaching east of the Mississippi at Kentucky in 1999. Additionally, Dykes went outside his traditional territory for the California job in 2013 going 19-30 before being fired after his fourth season after he had been linked with multiple jobs elsewhere during his tenure out west.

Dykes isn't the only coach that's already been linked with a potential Virginia Tech opening as CFB insider Steven Godfrey writing for Athlon Sports linked Louisiana head coach Billy Napier with a potential opening in Blacksburg.

Napier, a former assistant at Clemson, Alabama, and Arizona State before taking over the Louisiana program, has been one of the hottest Group of 5 names over the past few years with multiple SEC schools showing interest. However, each of those times have ended with Napier either taking his name out of the search or not being the choice with it seeming like Napier was possibly the focal candidate.

That may have some wondering about whether Napier, who has the Ragin' Cajuns ranked again and on their way to a third 10+ win season in four years with a 35-12 record in 3.5 seasons, would be interested in Virginia Tech or keep holding out for a bigger job.

From what I heard from a source, Napier has had interest in Virginia Tech in the past if it were to open when there have been some rumors. Of course, it remains to be seen if that interest comes true if the Virginia Tech job comes open as seems almost certain at this point.

Outside of Napier and Dykes, Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell and Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott seem likely to be potential candidates should the Virginia Tech job open after both were considered Tech's top targets if Tech would have decided to make a change last season.

Fickell would be seemingly unlikely given the USC and LSU vacancies that have him at the top of their list while Elliott's stock has taken a hit given Clemson's offensive struggles.