Claeys announces retirement: Fuente names Tech alum Jack Tyler new LB coach

virginia tech logoTracy Claeys has stepped down as linebackers coach at Virginia Tech, and head coach Justin Fuente has already found his replacement – Jack Tyler, who had served the past two seasons as Tech’s defensive quality control coach.

Claeys had only been with the Tech program for a year – coming to Blacksburg from Washington State, where he had been an assistant, after a run at Minnesota that had him serve as head coach for a season and a half, leading the Gophers to a 9-4 record in 2016.

“Even though he was only with us for a short time, Tracy made a lasting impact on our players and coaches,” Fuente said. “Tracy is not only an outstanding football coach, but he’s also one of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in this profession. I appreciated the way he helped mentor members of our staff, as well as the manner in which he conveyed his knowledge of the game to our players. We all wish Tracy the very best going forward.”

“I’m very grateful that to have coached with Coach Fuente and his staff at a place like Virginia Tech,” Claeys said. “Certainly 2020 presented many challenges to all of us, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of individuals to work with, especially my group of linebackers and the coaches in our defensive room. I’m going to miss coaching, but I’ll always have fond memories of my time in Blacksburg and will continue to value the many relationships I developed here. As I told Coach Fuente, while the time is right for me to step away from coaching, I’ll forever have a fond place in my heart for Virginia Tech.”

Tyler began his career at Virginia Tech as a walk-on linebacker before eventually earning a scholarship and developing into an All-ACC linebacker for the Hokies. A four-year letterwinner from 2010-13, the Oakton native played in Tech’s 2010 ACC Championship Game win over Florida State and was part of squads that compiled 37 wins during his playing career.

“Jack Tyler has earned this opportunity to take on a larger role with our team as our linebackers coach,” Fuente said. “Jack is a tireless worker who is passionate about the game and possesses a great love for Virginia Tech. During every step of his career, Jack has soaked up every ounce of knowledge about the game from his coaches and teammates. He’s a very mature individual who has gained the trust and respect of our coaching staff and our players. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the positive impact that I believe Jack will make in his new role with the Hokies.”

“I’m beyond grateful to Coach Fuente for placing his faith in me,” Tyler said. “Even while I was still a student-athlete, my dream job was to someday coach the position I played at my alma mater. Virginia Tech has made such an unbelievable impact on my life and I really try to pay that forward every day. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Coach Foster, who saw the potential in me to someday become a coach. I can’t thank Coach Fuente, Coach Foster, Coach Hamilton and the members of the current defensive staff, as well as Coach Claeys for entrusting me with more responsibilities over the years and serving as great mentors to me.”

Tyler returned to his alma mater as a graduate assistant on defense for the 2017-2018 campaigns before taking on a role as defensive quality control coach in 2019 and 2020.

Tyler is one of seven former Virginia Tech players currently serving in full-time roles on Coach’s Fuente’s staff. Tyler is joined on the coaching staff by Justin Hamilton (defensive coordinator/safeties) and Darryl Tapp (co-defensive line).

Other former Tech student-athletes associated with the program include Pierson Prioleau (director of player development – defense), Corey Fuller (asst. director of player personnel), Jeron Gouveia-Winslow (asst. director of player personnel) and Ryan Shuman (director of football strength & conditioning).


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