The Virginia Tech Hokies are taking a big step into the rebuilding process as Justin Fuente is out as head coach after six seasons with the Hokies. Fuente will not finish the season as co-defensive line coach J.C. Price will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
Fuente was brought in 2016 following the retirement of long-time head coach Frank Beamer. There was a glimpse of hope for Hokie fans as Fuente helped Virginia Tech go 18-8 (11-5 in ACC play) in his first two years. As the recruiting productivity off the field fell, so did the Hokies’ win percentage on the field.
Since Virginia Tech’s 9-4 season in 2017, the Hokies have accumulated an overall record of 24-23 (17-15 in ACC play). This season, the Hokies are 5-5 following some poor performance on the offensive side of the ball. Three of the five losses have been at home, with the worst being their 41-36 loss to Syracuse (5-5).
The recruiting process has not been highly efficient, with Fuente as head coach of the Hokies. Since Virginia Tech finished fifth in the conference in the 2015 National Recruiting Class, the Hokies have been up and down in their recruiting. Their best recruiting class was in the 2019 class when they signed seven four-star athletes. The last two classes have been poor as they had the worst-rated class in the ACC in 2020 and finished tenth in the 2021 class.
Fuente has shown no results in improving the program on and off the field. Last year was the first time since 1992 that the Hokies have not gone to a postseason bowl game. There is too much talent on both sides of the ball to not account for a winning record or contend for a disappointing Coastal Division this season. The Hokies have only scored 243 total points this season, which is second to last, just one point ahead of Duke.
Fuente came from Memphis after accounting for an overall record of 26-23, including a 19-6 record in the last two years. Under the direction of Fuente, the Hokies have one division title and finished the season ranked in the top 25 twice.
As the Hokies finish the 2021 College Football season with the hope of getting to a postseason bowl game, athletic director Whit Babcock will search for a new and more efficient leader of the football program.
After his release as head coach, Fuente had a message to Hokie Nation.