Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Justin Hamilton's defensive coaching staff is starting to come together as Virginia Tech announced today that Tech Hall of Famer Darryl Tapp and veteran head coach/defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will be joining the Tech staff.
Claeys will take over for Bud Foster as the linebackers coach following the bowl game while Tapp seems likely to have a large role coaching defensive lineman. The additions of Claeys and Tapp leave the Hokies with a pair of openings with one of those being at cornerbacks and the other likely being along the defensive line.
Claeys comes to Virginia Tech after spending just under 2 seasons as the defensive coordinator at Washington State leaving before the end of the season. Tapp was a special teams assistant at Vanderbilt this past season after spending a season as a defensive assistant at Central Michigan.
Here's what Justin Fuente, Darryl Tapp, and Tracy Claeys had to say about today's announcement (via VT press release).
“We’ve wanted to find a way to bring Darryl Tapp back into our program for some time,” Justin Fuente said. “If there is one former player who I’ve consistently heard Bud Foster use as an example of what it means to play defense at Virginia Tech, it’s Darryl Tapp. I know Coach Hamilton feels the same way about Darryl. He’s spent the past two seasons at Vanderbilt and Central Michigan preparing to take the next step in his coaching career. With his ties to the 757 region and his NFL experience, Darryl will be another great addition to our staff.”
“It’s great to be coming home to Virginia Tech,” Darryl Tapp said. “I always dreamed of playing at Virginia Tech and being drafted in the NFL. Both of those dreams became realities. Then as my playing days were coming to end, I knew I wanted to eventually get into coaching. In the back of my head, I thought how cool it would be if I ever got a chance to coach at Virginia Tech and share all the lessons I’ve learned over the years. I’m grateful to Coach Fuente for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started with he and Coach (Justin) Hamilton.”
“I’m excited to welcome Tracy (Claeys) to Blacksburg,” Fuente said. “Tracy is an outstanding football coach who will serve as another great resource for me, Justin Hamilton and our entire coaching staff. Coach Claeys’ track record as a defensive coach, a recruiter and his longtime association with Jerry Kill were among on the many reasons we wanted him to join us at Virginia Tech. We’re enthusiastic about adding Tracy’s expertise and leadership to our team.”
“I appreciate Coach Fuente offering me the opportunity to coach at Virginia Tech, a place where there has been such a great history of winning football,” Claeys said. “I’m eager to do everything I can to help Coach Fuente, Coach Hamilton and this staff build on the tradition of tough, hard-nosed football that coaches across the nation associate with Virginia Tech. I’m also excited to continue working with Jerry Kill, who is one of the finest football men I’ve ever been associated with in this game.”