Virginia Tech's 10-man assistant coaching staff is complete as the Hokies are set to hire Old Dominion TEs coach Fontel Mines as their WRs coach per multiple sources.
Mines comes to Virginia Tech after spending the 2021 season as the ODU TEs coach. Prior to his time in Norfolk, Mines was the Inside WRs coach/TEs coach/recruiting coordinator for East Carolina from 2019-2020 after spending two seasons as the inside WRs & TEs coach for James Madison while adding the recruiting coordinator title in 2018.
Before that, Mines spent five seasons at Richmond as the WRs coach (2012-2013, 2015-2016) and the TEs coach (2014) along with one season at D-II Chowan University in 2011 to start his collegiate coaching career. He also spent three seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears from 2007-2009 after starting in 20 games at tight end during his time at UVA in college. Mines is a Richmond native who was a standout player at Hermitage High School in the early to mid 2000s.
Unlike many of the Brent Pry hires, Mines has not coached alongside Pry previously. However, ODU head coach Ricky Rahne was the offensive coordinator for some of the time that Pry was at Penn State so that connection may have proved a factor in the vetting by Pry and offensive coordinator Tyler Bowen, who also coached alongside Rahne, of Mines as a potential WRs coach.
Fontel Mines may not be the splashiest of hires for the WRs coach opening, but the move is definitely intriguing as he has proven himself at the FCS and Group of 5 levels as a coach and as a recruiter.
At ODU, he coached up Penn State TE transfer Zack Kuntz who earned All-Conference USA First Team honors who led the Monarchs in receptions as a TE. At ECU, Mines coached up the Pirates' receptions leader in 2019 and 2020 in 5'7'' slot WR Tyler Snead who had 119 receptions during Mines' time in Greenville and earned 2020 All-AAC Second Team honors.
While at JMU, Mines had a pair of All-CAA selections at WR while another one of his WRs, John Miller, was the 2017 CAA Special Teams Player of the Year.
During his five seasons at Richmond, the Spiders earned 10 All-CAA honors among their wide receiver group including eight during the four seasons (2012-13, 2015-16) when Mines was the primary WRs coach including five First Team honors which all came when Mines was the primary WRs coach. That included star WR Brian Brown who holds the Spiders records for career receptions, career receiving yards, career receiving TDs, single season receiving yards, and single season receiving TDs. Mines' receivers also own spots 2 through 8 on the single season receptions list.
As a recruiter, Mines has spent over a decade in mostly Virginia outside of his stints in North Carolina at ECU and Chowan so he should bring plenty of in-state connections especially at his roots in Richmond in part due to his time at the University of Richmond.
Additionally, Mines was ranked as one of the top 6 recruits in the AAC for both of the full classes he was involved in recruiting. during his time at ECU as ranked by 247 Sports. He also landed loads of talented recruits for an ECU including Jacob Coleman, a top 30 VA recruit per the 247 Sports Composite in the strong 2021 VA class.
Fontel Mines definitely is a little bit of a surprising name that came somewhat out of nowhere given some of the names that I had heard. However, Mines is definitely an intriguing addition with a very good reputation as a receiving coach (whether WRs or TEs) and recruiter along with an upward trajectory and loads of in-state ties that makes this a hire that seems to fit well and has lots of upside with some risk.
Virginia Tech has officially announced the hiring of Fontel Mines as the Hokies' WRs coach and offensive recruiting coordinator.
The addition of Mines rounds out Virginia Tech's main 10 assistants with the Hokies likely to continue building out their off-the-field staff in the coming days after announcing the hire of Xavier Adibi and promotion of Brian Crist yesterday.