Justin Fuente is no longer the head football coach at Virginia Tech. The school announced Tuesday morning that the two sides are mutually parting ways, with co-defensive line coach J.C. Price taking over on an interim basis for the Hokies’ final two regular-season games.
They can still get bowl eligible with one win in their two remaining games — Saturday at Miami and at Virginia on Nov. 27. Fuente released this statement via the football team’s Twitter account:
After Frank Beamer’s storied tenure ended with 7-6, 8-5, 7-6 and 7-6 seasons from 2012-2015, Fuente took over and promptly went 10-4 in 2016. The Hokies capped the year by rallying from a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat Arkansas 35-24 and cover as seven-point favorites.
Va. Tech went 9-4 in 2017. Since then, though, it’s been rough sledding for the program. The Hokies have gone 6-7, 8-5 and 5-6, and they to to Coral Gables on Saturday with a 5-5 record.
They are 43-31 overall on Fuente’s watch.
“We sincerely appreciate the contributions that Coach Fuente made to our football program and the positive impact he made on our student-athletes during his time at Virginia Tech,” athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement. “While it is never easy to make a change, I believe in order for our football program to attain the type of sustained success that is expected at Virginia Tech, the time was right for new leadership of our football program.”
This coaching search for Va. Tech won’t be easy with better jobs — USC and LSU — already open and others (Florida comes to mind and possibly Penn St.) likely to come open in the next 2-3 weeks. Whether TCU and Washington are better gigs is debatable, but USC, LSU, UF and PSU could land coaches from schools that are more high-profile than the one in Blacksburg.
Realistic candidates could include Coastal Carolina’s Jamey Chadwell, Louisiana’s Billly Napier, Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson and Clemson coordinators Brent Venables (DC) or Tony Elliott (OC).
Would South Carolina first-year HC Shane Beamer be interested? I doubt it and he’s probably not at the top of the Hokies’ wish list, either.
Indeed, folks. The Silly Season is upon us and, as always, it’s going to deliver with drama galore.