UPDATE 11:25 a.m.: Following Tuesday morning’s announcement about Justin Fuente no longer serving as head football coach for Virginia Tech, university officials shared additional information about Fuente’s departure, as well as the future of Hokie football.
According to Director of Athletics Whit Babcock, the decision to part ways with Fuente after six seasons was mutual amid a lack of consistency in the football program.
Babcock says the buyout for Fuente was negotiated down from $10 million to $8.75 million, which will be paid in a lump sum.
Fuente also reportedly declined Virginia Tech’s offer to finish out the final two weeks of the regular season, including games against the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Cavaliers.
You can watch Tuesday’s full news conference below:
BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — On Tuesday morning, Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced the university is parting ways with head football coach Justin Fuente following a mutual agreement between the two.
According to a statement released by the Virginia Tech Athletics Department on Tuesday, Nov. 16, Babcock indicated that a national search is underway to fill Fuente’s position. Meanwhile, J.C. Price will reportedly serve as the interim head coach for the rest of the 2021 season.
“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,” Babcock said. “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.”
“Virginia Tech is one of the most attractive football jobs in America, competing in one of the nation’s premier conferences, the ACC,” Babcock continued. “I’m extremely confident that we’ll be able to identify and hire a new head coach who can build on our rich history and winning tradition.”
Babcock is set to address the media at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday. You can watch the news conference live here at WFXRtv.com, on the WFXR News Facebook page, or on the WFXR News app.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult circumstance, particularly before the season had concluded,” Virginia Tech President Dr. Tim Sands stated. “I support and have full confidence in Whit’s leadership and appreciate his commitment keep the best interest of the players and the program in the forefront of his mind. Together, we stand in support of our student-athletes as they prepare to complete the season at this challenging time.”
The university says Fuente compiled a 43-31 record in six seasons at Virginia Tech. The Oklahoma native has a 69-54 career record over the course 10 seasons as an FBS head coach. Before joining the Hokies, he guided Memphis to a 26-23 ledger in four seasons.
The statement issued by Virginia Tech Athletics included the following message to Hokie Nation from Fuente:
On behalf of Jenny and our family, I would like to thank President Sands, Whit and the entire Virginia Tech community for extending me the opportunity to lead this football program for six seasons.
To the many incredible young men that I had the privilege to coach, so many of you have made a lasting impact on our family. I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and your commitment to doing your very best, whether that was on the field, in the classroom or in your personal lives.
To the fabulous assistant coaches and support staff at Virginia Tech, I can’t express how much I appreciated all of your work and all your sacrifices. It takes so many dedicated, hard-working and loyal people behind the scenes to make a football program run smoothly. Thank you.
To the all donors who have recently stepped up to make substantial contributions to Virginia Tech Football, please know the importance of your commitment. So many improvements have been made to point our facilities and overall student-athlete experience in the right direction. Thank you to the fans of Hokie Nation. I would encourage all of you to continue cheering on this football team – your support means so much to all of them.
Finally, to Jenny, Cecilia, Caroline, Charlotte and the rest of our family, thank you for your unwavering love and support. We have all been in this together and we will continue to be in this together on the next step of our journey.
We leave Blacksburg with many great memories, but above all else, our family cherishes the many relationships that have been established and that will always endure. To all of those players, coaches and staff who are still fighting on, know that the Fuente family is always cheering for you.
This is a developing story. WFXR News will share more information as it comes into the newsroom.