It’s official: Virginia Tech names Justin Fuente head football coach

fuenteVirginia Tech made it official Sunday, announcing Justin Fuente as its new head football coach. Fuente, 26-23 in four seasons at Memphis, will replace the legendary Frank Beamer, who announced his intention to retire earlier this month.

Beamer will coach through whatever bowl game the Hokies (6-6, 4-4 ACC) play next month.

The school confirmed that defensive coordinator Bud Foster will stay on in that same role on Fuente’s staff.

A press release announcing the hire of Fuente, 39, referred the move to retain Foster with language suggesting that the new coach had asked the longtime Beamer assistant to stay on.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” the press release quoted Foster. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program.

“After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

Before his stint at Memphis, Fuente had worked on the staff of Gary Patterson at Big 12 power TCU for five years, his last three years there as co-offensive coordinator.

Fuente also has a reputation for his work with quarterbacks. Memphis QB Paxton Lynch is a projected NFL first-round draft pick next year, and Fuente was the quarterbacks coach at TCU when Andy Dalton, a two-time Pro Bowler with the Cincinnati Bengals, was leading the Horned Frogs.

A 1999 graduate of Murray State, where Beamer, a Virginia Tech alum, had served as head football coach before being hired by his alma mater in 1987, Fuente and his wife, Jenny, have three daughters – Cecilia, Caroline and Charlotte.

“We are thrilled to welcome Justin, Jenny and their three daughters into our Virginia Tech family,” Virginia Tech athletics director Whit Babcock said. “We identified Coach Fuente as a top candidate early in our process. As our conversations progressed, we then met in person and it became obvious he is the right person to lead our football program. He possesses wisdom beyond his years, as well as a refreshing sense of humility and a calm confidence.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” Babcock said. “He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear. We are excited to officially welcome Justin Fuente as the leader of the Virginia Tech football program.”

 

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