On Nov. 29, 2015, Justin Fuente became the eighth head football coach at Virginia Tech since 1950, as he was tasked to replace retiring coach Frank Beamer, the school’s all-time winningest coach.
|Seasons at VT||First Season|
|Overall Record||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|ACC Record||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|vs. Non-Conference||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|vs. Ranked Teams||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|Record Home||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|Record Away||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|Record Neutral||0-0 (.000) Games: 0|
|2001-03||quarterbacks coach, Illinois State|
|2004-06||quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator, Illinois State|
|2007-08||running backs coach, TCU|
|2009-11||quarterbacks coach/co-offensive coordinator, TCU|
|2012-15||head coach, Memphis|
|2012 (4-8, 4-4 CUSA)|
|2013 (3-9, 1-7 AAC)|
|2014 (10-3, 7-1 AAC), Miami Beach Bowl champion|
|2015 (9-3, 5-3 AAC)|
|Record at Memphis: (26-23, 17-15 conference)|
|2016-||Head Coach, Virginia Tech|
|2014||Miami Beach (vs. BYU)|
Fuente came to Tech after serving as the head coach for four seasons at the University of Memphis. He inherited a program that went 5-31 in three seasons (2009-11) prior to his arrival and guided it to a 19-6 mark his final two seasons.
In 2015, he helped the Tigers to a 9-3 record, which included a 37-24 win over then-No. 13 Ole Miss. That marked the highest-ranked opponent Memphis had beaten since knocking off then-No. 6 Tennessee in 1996. The Tigers concluded the regular season with a 63-0 win over SMU in Fuente’s finale as the head coach.
Much of Memphis’ success can be contributed to Fuente’s tutelage of quarterback Paxton Lynch. An unheralded recruit out of a Florida high school, Lynch flourished in Fuente’s system, throwing for 3,670 yards, with 28 touchdowns and just three interceptions under Fuente in 2015.
In 2014, Fuente led Memphis to a 10-3 record and to a share of the American Athletic Conference championship – the school’s first championship in football since 1971. The Tigers capped the season with a double-overtime victory over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl, which gave the school its first 10-win season since 1938.
At the conclusion of the season, the Tigers finished ranked No. 25 in both The Associated Press and the Amway coaches’ polls. Fuente was named the American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, and he also was one of eight finalists for the Eddie Robinson Award, which goes to the best college in college football.
Fuente also stressed academics during his time at Memphis. In 2014, 12 players had graduated before the Tigers played in the Miami Beach Bowl, and the team recorded its highest cumulative grade-point average in program history entering the 2014 season.
Prior to going to Memphis, Fuente worked with Gary Patterson for five seasons at TCU. He was the running backs coach for the first two seasons and then became the quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator his final three seasons there.
In 2009-10, Fuente coached current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who became TCU’s career leader in virtually every passing category. Dalton threw 50 touchdown passes and just 14 interceptions in his two seasons with Fuente, guiding TCU to bowl appearances in the Fiesta and Rose Bowls. The Horned Frogs ranked in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense each season during Fuente’s time as the co-coordinator.
Fuente’s initial coaching job came at Illinois State, where he coached quarterbacks (2001-03) before adding offensive coordinator duties to his responsibilities (2004-06). In 2005, the Redbirds ranked fifth in both total offense (477.6 ypg) and scoring (39.2 ppg).
A product of Tulsa’s Union High School, Fuente played quarterback for two seasons (1996-97) at the University of Oklahoma, where he set an OU freshman record with 11 touchdown passes. He transferred to Murray State for his final two years of eligibility, setting 11 school records there. In 1999, he earned Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year honor and was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award. He went on to play professionally for the Arena Football League’s Oklahoma Wranglers.
A 1999 graduate of Murray State with a degree in finance, Fuente and his wife, Jenny, have three daughters – Cecilia, Caroline and Charlotte.