BLACKSBURG, Va. – Among the pressing questions about Justin Fuente’s move away from Virginia Tech: Who will replace him as head coach?
The early signing period starts Dec. 15, so for recruits, the new coach and Fuente, it’s better now than later.
Three possible coaches who could replace Fuente are Jamey Chadwell at Coastal Carolina, Billy Napier at Louisiana and Bill O’Brien at Alabama.
Let’s break down those three possible candidates:
As head coach at Coastal Carolina, he’s responsible for the meteoric rise of the college football elite conversation for the program with only a couple of years under his belt since he started in Jan. 2019.
Before leading Coastal Carolina, Chadwell was named two-time FCS National Coach of the year and was a three-time Big South Coach of the Year during his time at Charleston Southern from 2013-2016.
In 2020 he led Coastal Carolina to the program’s first-ever Sun Belt Conference title with an 11-1 overall mark and an 8-0 Sun Belt Conference Record.
Leading the Ragin’ Cajuns of Lousiana to a 37-12 record in four seasons is head coach Billy Napier.
Before starting with Louisiana in 2017, he was the former offensive coordinator at Clemson University, which is key since he knows the league and the recruiting landscape.
Under his leadership, the team broke into national ranking for the first time, ranking No. 15 in the AP Top 25, No. 16 in the USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll and No. 19 in the College Football Playoff, which is the team’s highest rankings in all three polls.
Last but not least is Bill O’Brien who currently serves as the offensive coordinator at Alabama after his more than six years as the head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans.
It’s proven he has run a major football program at multiple levels -he was the head coach at Penn State at Joe Paterno before heading to the NFL--and was even an assistant at Maryland, Duke and Georgia Tech.
While at Penn State, O’Brien held a record of 15-9.
While those are only three candidates, there are plenty more people to consider, and we may find out who gets that spot between now and Dec. 15