BLACKSBURG, Va. – Head coach Justin Fuente confirmed on Wednesday that Tracy Claeys has informed him of his intention to retire. Virginia Tech marked the final stop of Claeys’ career in college football as he coached the Hokies’ linebackers in 2020 after joining the program in December 2019.
“On behalf of our entire football program, I want to thank Tracy Claeys for his contributions to our team,” Fuente said. “Even though he was only with us for a short time, Tracy made a lasting impact on our players and coaches. Tracy is not only an outstanding football coach, but he’s also one of the finest people I’ve had the pleasure of working with in this profession. I appreciated the way he helped mentor members of our staff, as well as the manner in which he conveyed his knowledge of the game to our players. We all wish Tracy the very best going forward.”
“I’m very grateful that to have coached with Coach Fuente and his staff at a place like Virginia Tech,” Claeys said. “Certainly 2020 presented many challenges to all of us, but I couldn’t have asked for a better group of individuals to work with, especially my group of linebackers and the coaches in our defensive room. I’m going to miss coaching, but I’ll always have fond memories of my time in Blacksburg and will continue to value the many relationships I developed here. As I told Coach Fuente, while the time is right for me to step away from coaching, I’ll forever have a fond place in my heart for Virginia Tech.”
Claeys posted an 11-8 record with back-to-back bowl victories as head coach at Minnesota after taking over the program in November 2015. The Clay Center, Kansas native originally joined the Minnesota staff as defensive coordinator in 2011. He most recently served as defensive coordinator at Washington State. Prior to his stint at Minnesota, Claeys spent three seasons at Northern Illinois (2008-10), seven years at Southern Illinois (2001-07) and two campaigns at Emporia State (1999-2000), serving as defensive coordinator for all three schools. Claeys was a two-time finalist for the Broyles Award presented annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Head coach Justin Fuente also announced on Wednesday that he has promoted Jack Tyler to linebackers coach to fill the vacancy. Tyler had previously served the past two seasons as Tech’s defensive quality control coach.
Tyler began his career at Virginia Tech as a walk-on linebacker before eventually earning a scholarship and developing into an All-ACC linebacker for the Hokies. A four-year letterwinner from 2010-13, the Oakton, Virginia native played in Tech’s 2010 ACC Championship Game win over Florida State and was part of squads that compiled 37 wins during his playing career, including a 4-0 mark against in-state rival, Virginia.
“Jack Tyler has earned this opportunity to take on a larger role with our team as our linebackers coach, “Fuente said. “Jack is a tireless worker who is passionate about the game and possesses a great love for Virginia Tech. During every step of his career, Jack has soaked up every ounce of knowledge about the game from his coaches and teammates. He’s a very mature individual who has gained the trust and respect of our coaching staff and our players. I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about the positive impact that I believe Jack will make in his new role with the Hokies.”