December 4, 2015
Shibest, Wiggins officially join Fuente at Virginia Tech
Former Memphis assistants were introduced at Fuente's press conference

BLACKSBURG – Head coach Justin Fuente confirmed Friday that James Shibest and Holmon Wiggins have completed the hiring process at Virginia Tech. The formal addition of Shibest and Wiggins gives Fuente five assistants under contract, joining Bud Foster, Torrian Gray and Charley Wiles.

James Shibest

Shibest brings more than 25 years of coaching experience with him to Blacksburg, which includes 12 seasons working as a special teams coach in the Southeastern Conference. The past four seasons, he was the special teams and tight ends coach at Memphis, working alongside Fuente. In three of those seasons, Shibest had a player earn American Athletic Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year, as placekicker Jake Elliott has taken home the award the past two years (including 2015) and punter Tom Hornsey was a co-pick in 2013. Hornsey also won the Ray Guy Award that year.

His Tigers’ special teams success continued a trend he brought to Memphis from Ole Miss, where he coached for four seasons (2008-11). An NCAA statistical champion, four All-SEC honorees and two freshman award winners highlighted Shibest’s special teams accomplishments. He also tutored the top two kick returners in Ole Miss history in Mike Wallace and Jesse Grandy.

Prior to his time at Ole Miss, Shibest spent eight years at his alma mater, Arkansas, from 2000-07, where he coached special teams and had stints tutoring tight ends (2000-01, 2006-07) and receivers (2002-05). Before his time at Arkansas, Shibest spent eight seasons in the junior college ranks after beginning his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma State (1990-91).

A native of Houston, Texas, Shibest was a prep All-American receiver at MacArthur High School before enjoying a standout collegiate career as a receiver at Arkansas, earning All-Southwest Conference honors in 1984 and 1986. He amassed a then-school-record 1,920 receiving yards on 97 receptions, including 10 for touchdowns.

Shibest and his wife, Dianna, are the parents of James John III and Jordyn Grace.

Holmon Wiggins

Wiggins also owns significant history with Fuente, as the two spent the past four seasons together at Memphis. Wiggins was the Tigers’ wide receivers coach, and before that, he took his first full-time coaching position as the running backs coach at Illinois State in 2006, where Fuente was the offensive coordinator.

In that first season together, the pair helped guide the Redbirds to a 9-4 record, including a Football Championship Series (FCS) quarterfinal appearance and a No. 8 national ranking. Illinois State averaged 169 yards per game rushing in 2006, and Pierre Rembert rushed for a school-record 1,743 yards and received Associated Press (AP) All-America accolades.

Wiggins spent a total of five seasons at Illinois State, and in two of the years, the team averaged more than 190 yards rushing per game (2007, 199; 2008, 197). He then took a similar position at Tulsa for the 2011 season working under head coach Bill Blankenship, who was Fuente’s prep coach at Tulsa’s Union High School.

With the Golden Hurricane, he helped the team to an 8-4 overall record and a 7-1 Conference USA mark. Wiggins guided a trio of Tulsa running backs who combined for 2,006 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. Ja’Terian Douglas was an All-CUSA second-team selection, while Trey Watts earned league honorable mention merits. In addition, H-back Willie Carter, who led Tulsa with 868 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, was an All-CUSA second-team honoree.

The past four seasons, Wiggins has turned his attention to the wide receivers and has seen his group improve each of the past four years. In his second season, his receivers combined to catch 148 passes for 1,687 yards and three touchdowns. In 2014, they caught a combined 205 passes for 2,422 yards and 14 touchdowns, and this year, are currently at 241 receptions, 3,178 yards receiving and 19 touchdowns with a bowl game yet to play.

Wiggins was a four-year letterwinner and three-year starter at running back for New Mexico (1998-2001). He finished his collegiate career with 1,833 rushing yards, the 14th-most in school history. He remains the Lobos’ single-season leader in punt returns (46) and punt return yardage (392), both set in 2000.

He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from New Mexico in 2003 and started work on his master’s degree in counseling and child psychology. A native of Los Angeles, Wiggins played his prep football at San Pedro High School and was named the city’s Class 4A Player of the Year.

Wiggins and his wife, Dominique, have four daughters: Justyce, Karyn, Brooklyn and Journye.

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