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Justin Fuente is out as Virginia Tech head football coach

What’s next for the Hokies?

After nearly six seasons, Justin Fuente is no longer leading Virginia Tech on the gridiron. We break down Tuesday's decision and what's next for the Hokies.

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Justin Fuente is out and Virginia Tech is on the hunt for a new head football coach, according to a press release from the school on Tuesday morning.

Whit Babcock, the director of athletics for Virginia Tech, announced that the university and Justin Fuente have mutually agreed to part ways.

Babcock said that a national search for Fuente’s replacement is underway. Until a new coach is chosen, J.C. Price will act as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021 season.

[A look at the timeline of Justin Fuente’s career at Virginia Tech]

“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. ...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.”

You can read Fuente’s full statement below:

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 all the 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.

Justin Fuente

[WATCH: Whit Babcock discusses Justin Fuente’s departure from Virginia Tech]

“This is an extraordinarily difficult circumstance, particularly before the season had concluded,” said Dr. Tim Sands, Virginia Tech president. “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.”

Fuente had a 43-31 record in his six seasons with the Hokies. He also has a 69-54 career record during 10 seasons as an FBS head coach.

Virginia Tech fans share their reactions to Justin Fuente leaving the football program.

WSLS 10 spoke to students on campus and they all shared the same general feeling about the split between Fuente and Virginia Tech: unfortunate but necessary.

“I’m actually kind of happy we’re getting Fuente,” said one recent graduate.

“I can definitely see from the first game and going on through the rest of the home games definitely more people leaving at halftime. And I could hear the chants of ‘Fire Fuente’ at the games,” said student Brandon Smith.

“We need somebody, somebody who’s not Fuente. I feel bad for him but Fuente didn’t do the job,” said a Virginia Tech sophomore student.

The feelings are all mutual, the losses too many and the wins too few.


About the Authors:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.