Fuente a top 25 coach?

Stewart Mandel published an article on The Athletic this morning ranking his Top 25 coaches right now, not in terms of career achievements, and I was somewhat surprised that Fuente did not meet the criteria. I was wondering what everyone else's perception is of Fuente currently and if he'd easily, barely, or not make your own top 25.

Some surprises for me were Mike Leach, Rocky Long, and Ken Niaumatolo.

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Honestly, I had to google Rocky Long.

Do you have a link to the article that you could share?

it's behind a paywall, not sure how much of it you can see without being a member but here it is anyhow

Yes he is.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Fuente can't recruit no one Pawwwwlllll.

But Seriously, taking off my orange and maroon glasses, he makes my top 15. With my glasses on he is top 10. I don't put him with Saban, Dabo, Meyer, Peterson, Fisher, etc. But I do put him with the second tier of unproven coaches with the potential to do great things.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Really? Fuente, not top 25?

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

He needs a few big wins to really cement his top 25 mettle. I can really only think of Notre Dame and Ole Miss off the top of my head. Arkansas would be if I kept my Orange and Maroon glasses on. He still a young head coach with only 4-5 years of experience. He's not there yet.

Just my 2 cents.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

The Notre Dame win was also the year they didn't make a bowl.

Yes. I'll put him in the Top 25, but only in the 20-25 range (@ this point).

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

bud foster for head coach

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

why? I'm not trolling...We've seen so many other times People voicing this sentiment...come on

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

I'm not trolling

That makes it even worse. At least start a new thread if you're going to soapbox about why we should fire our head coach.

We've seen so many other times People voicing this sentiment

'Many people are saying X' isn't even an argument.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

did i ever say we should fire our coach?

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

bud foster for head coach

Ah, I misunderstood you. You're advocating for co-head coaches. Carry on.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

This the worst rebuttal ever

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

no u

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Rebttal?

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Depends on which message board you're on.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Yes. I'd even say top 10. Also, I don't get how Jimbo Fisher is always in the conversation as elite coach either. Sure, he won a natty with a generational player who likes crab legs and he can recruit well. What has he done with those recruits though? He hasn't even sniffed a playoff without a QB with the last name Winston. CJF will enter the elite coach conversation in the next 5 years...sadly I think that means he will not be in Blacksburg much longer after that. I think Fuente and QP are going to skyrocket our program to heights we haven't seen in 20 years

"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is, I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism." Kenny Powers

I don't get how Jimbo Fisher is always in the conversation... ...he won a natty

Well, umm, I think he can make a case.

Would you put Gene Chizik in the top 10?

"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is, I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism." Kenny Powers

No, but he's not Jimbo Fisher. At least I don't think he is. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's not even a head coach.

That's part of the problem with rankings, though, isn't it? Each coach has a completely different history.

Agreed, I just see him and Jimbo in similar situations. They each had once in a lifetime players at QB and didn't do much after they left unlike Beamer, Dabo etc. etc. Gene was fired and Jimbo was likely going to get fired. I will withhold further judgement on Jimbo though until I see a body of work from him at A&M.

"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is, I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism." Kenny Powers

Yes, I agree about how Jimbo Fisher fits high and mighty on this list. Let's see what he does at A&M. The natty he won at FSU was more or less with some of Bowden's recruits. He doesn't strike fear in me as an opposing coach.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"You boys in there smokin' rope?"-Johnny Unitas (circa 1973) to his San Diego Chargers teammates

Without seeing his list or having any sort of criteria to base the ranking on, this is a very tough discussion to have.

was just trying to get people's perception/unbiased opinion on whether he's a top 25 coach, but here's his list.

Saban, Meyer, Swinney, Petersen, Patterson, Dantonio, Jimbo, Shaw, Chip Kelly, Kirby, Franklin, Richt, Harbaugh, Gundy, Chryst, Petrino, Niaumatalolo, Fitzgerald, Mullen, Snyder, Whittingham, Malzahn, Rocky Long, Leach, Frost.

EDIT: he was somewhat vague on his criteria but stated recent performance was the biggest factor and this was not a career achievement list.

I found myself clicking the link thinking "I'll check where Fuente was ranked" and was a little shocked when he wasn't on there because I felt like he should easily be in that 20-25 spot.

Chryst??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Chem PhD '16

Petrino??????!!!!!

He was average at best while at Pitt, but his Wisky teams have been very good the last few years. They've gone 10-3, 11-3, and 13-1 the last three years, and finished in the top-10 the last two. They also won all three of their bowl games over that stretch, including NY6 matchups with WMU (Cotton) and Miami (Orange). I have no issue with him being on the list.

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."
--unknown

Chip Kelly hasn't coached a down in college in 5 years...why is he on the list?

Probably because his Oregon teams went a combined 46-7 with a National Title game appearance.

It's Time to go to Work

Clearly better: Saban, Meyer, Swinney, Petersen, Patterson

Pretty good argument are better than Fuente: Dantonio, Jimbo, Shaw, Chip Kelly, Kirby, Franklin, Harbaugh.

I will take Fuente all day over these guys: Richt, Gundy, Chryst, Petrino, Niaumatalolo, Fitzgerald, Mullen, Snyder, Whittingham, Malzahn, Rocky Long, Leach, Frost.

I would argue he's a double digit win season from the second group.

I think Frost is poised to move up. Nebraska has been crootin', and from what I hear the training has stepped up in a big way. I'm really curious to see how Nebraska does these next two years.

Nebraska has been underperforming big time the last decade. They are in a position to be very competitive in that division.

Chryst and Frost, but no Fuente? I don't get that at all. Also, I believe Rocky Long has had more than a few losing seasons, which should eliminate a coach from even sniffing this list. Where the hell is CPJ, master of the triple option, who taught Niaumatololo all that he knows. I'm not even sure Mullen is deserving of being on this list.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"You boys in there smokin' rope?"-Johnny Unitas (circa 1973) to his San Diego Chargers teammates

Yes. VT is typically ranked in the Top-25.

We put the K in Kwality

Not sure who downvoted this... but I knocked it back up. Hopefully it was a scrolling error.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

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My Tommy Gun says it is

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Fuente appears to be a great coach, but he hasn't cemented his position by bringing home an ACC Championship and a national championship for Virginia Tech.

Let's give him some time, shall we?

I think so

The Dude Abides

So if it's not based on recent success I'm not sure how a few names he has are on that list. Example Michigian coach.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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scroll up to my reply to Joe, Mandel stated the biggest factor he used was recent success (doesn't make a lot of sense for the Chip Kelly pick). obviously i just posed this question the wrong way because i was more trying to get people's thoughts on why Fuente is or isn't a top 25 head coach right now and not debate Stewart Mandel's list. i just used the list as a jumping off point rather than posting the question without context of why i was thinking it.

"biggest factor is recent success" does not equal "only based on recent success". Beyond that, Harbaugh's first year at UM was a really impressive underrated coaching job. His second year, they were half a yard away from a conference title game appearance and likely NY6 bid. His third, he met all reasonable preseason projections.

When it comes to chip kelley, I'd argue that he has no recent (college football) success to judge against, so we have to use his time at oregon to judge him.

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Mike Leach and Ken Niaumatolo should 100% be in the top 25 IMO. They've notched some pretty good wins over ranked teams. Rocky Long has done great work at SD, and beaten some ranked teams, but they also have some bad losses each year.

Fuente will be a top 25 coach, needs to prove himself at the current level.
Edit: FUente is a top 25 coach. I've revised my opinion after reading jobushokie's poste below:

He was ACC coach of the year his first year. He took a team that hadnt topped 8 wins in 5 years to 10-4 and 9 - 4 with two back to back rankings in the top 25.

He won 10 games for the first time in Memphis history, a program that had only won 9 games in two seasons since 1961.

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Stewart Mandel said we were going to go 5-7 in Fuente's first year. His opinion carries no weight around here (in my brain).

I don't think that was unreasonable. We had a tough schedule, and the ACC was trending up that year. He had no idea how good Jerod was going to be, and he over estimated UNC and Miami.

Mandel, Feldman, the solid verbal boys, and the SBNation crew aren't in the business of hot takes. They all eat crow when they're wrong.

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I thought it was pretty unreasonable considering his reasoning was that Fuente "does not inherit much cause for excitement on either side of the ball."

I wasn't expecting to win the ACC or anything but Fuente inherited plenty of guys to get excited about on both sides of the ball. Sam Rogers, Travon McMillian, Isaiah Ford, Cam Phillips, Bucky Hodges, Ken Ekanem, Woody Baron, Nigel Williams, Tim Settle, Ricky Walker, Vinny Mihota, Andrew Motuapuaka, Tremaine Edmunds, Mook Reynolds, Greg Stroman, Brandon Facyson, Chuck Clark, Terrell Edmunds.

Sure, that might not look like Ohio State or Clemson but does it look like a 5-7 team?

Sam Rogers had a decent, but not amazing 2015 season; honestly his 2016 season wasn't amazing either, except for his legendary UVA game. Motley (projected started before Jerod arrived) was serviceable, had some mediocre games with the same receiving corp the previous year. Mook and Tremaine made 2 starts the previous year, and weren't the stars they were in 2016 or 2017. Tim Settle and Ricky Walker both redshirted the previous year.

TL;DR - It wasn't unrealistic to think Fuente wouldn't have enough pieces to fit his system, and that the rebuild would be much more difficult than it actually was. I agree that 5-7 was on the pessimistic side, but I don't think it was a hot take or an intentionally anti-Virginia Tech take.

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I just look at those names and think there were definitely some guys to be excited about. Mandel's exact words were:

Justin Fuente worked miracles at Memphis but does not inherit much cause for excitement on either side of the ball in year 1.

Even though a guy like Tim Settle hadn't gotten on the field, I think most of us were excited about him. Take out ~5 of the names I listed and you still have a dozen guys to be excited about.

I agree with you - I don't think it was anti-Virginia Tech at all. But I'm petty and stubborn and if you're in the national media and you make an unfounded negative statement about my team, you better be right or I will hold a grudge. Hence the "His opinion carries no weight around here (in my brain)" part of my initial comment.

Scott Frost makes the list. I can understand that.

But I'll put money - Justin Fuente, Scott Frost and Tom Herman will be on some sort of top 25 coaching list in the near future if the fan bases will be patient enough.

Currently, I dont understand how he is not..

He was ACC coach of the year his first year. He took a team that hadnt topped 8 wins in 5 years to 10-4 and 9 - 4 with two back to back rankings in the top 25.

He won 10 games for the first time in Memphis history, a program that had only won 9 games in two seasons since 1961.

CHALK EM UP THATS A 25 COACHING JOB!

Now we need the Dave chapelle gif lol

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Without looking at the criteria, I'd probably have him in the 20-25 range.

Not sure how anyone could justify top 15, let alone top 10.

Finalist for National Coach of the year in 2014 taking the Tigers to their first 10 win season since 1938. Completely overhauled a terrible football program.

10 wins and ACC Coach of the Year and Coastal ACC Champs 2016 in his first year at Virginia Tech.

For a guy 6 years into his head coaching career, I think he could be in the discussion of Top 15.

That's how I justify it.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

Same

"Sure, I've been called a xenophobe, but the truth is, I'm not. I honestly just feel that America is the best country and the other countries aren't as good. That used to be called patriotism." Kenny Powers

But the article is about now, right? Not 'coaches 6 years into their career.' He seems to be on a good trajectory, but that resume you posted above as compared to all FBS coaches is top 15 in your mind? I would strongly disagree.

I didn't know that he had to work a certain amount of years to qualify. All I know is that there are very few coaches I'd rather have then Fuente... if any. If that's me being blind in your opinion, that's fine with me. Unlike a lot of folks around here the past week, I'm very happy with what I have seen from Fuente over the past 2 seasons... except for the GT game.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

I didn't know that he had to work a certain amount of years to qualify.

Well there wasn't a qualifier. You inserted one by stating 'for only 6 years into coaching...'
If you're ranking coaches, comparing resumes would be a logical place to start.

  • Overall record of 45-31
  • 2 bowl wins
  • 2 10 win seasons (I'm ignoring the turnaround at Memphis - bc most coaches cut their teeth at lesser programs)
  • 1 Conference Championship Game Appearance

As compared to maybe Mark Dantonio, who'd I'd guess would be 10-12 on my list

  • 118-62
  • 6 bowl wins
  • 3 Conference Championships
  • 2x Conference COY

Neither tear up the recruiting trail...

I think CFJ could be a better coach down the road, but at this point it's tough to make a case

All I know is that there are very few coaches I'd rather have then Fuente... if any.

I don't think anyone is challenging you on that, but it's not really the topic of the article, either.

I don't have access to the article. I was just going off of what OP said the article was about. I think Fuente has been a Top 15 coach in recent performance. You do not. Can we leave it at that?

EDIT: he was somewhat vague on his criteria but stated recent performance was the biggest factor and this was not a career achievement list.

I feel like

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

I'd vote him more in the "up and coming" category.

He has an excellent platform to work with at VT.

For sure, that's what I said in my post above previously. I'm just not sure there are 15 coaches I'd rather have then Fuente.

But Seriously, taking off my orange and maroon glasses, he makes my top 15. With my glasses on he is top 10. I don't put him with Saban, Dabo, Meyer, Peterson, Fisher, etc. But I do put him with the second tier of unproven coaches with the potential to do great things.

“I turned down 12 other opportunities. You know what I mean?” - Fuente

I don't disagree with you on potential, but I see Top 15 as more of a "realized" thing.

I still believe Fuente is a perfect coach for VT, and he's moving the program in the right direction.

Generally speaking, the Top 25 coaches should be directly linked to a 'year-in-and-year-out' Top 25 program.

I can't take too much issue with this. I feel like we are in this position where we are beating a lot of teams, but it seems like most of our wins are against fluff. The Miami game last year hurt our perception a bit, because it definitely looked like we were a team that wasn't prepared for that kind of limelight, which combined with the Clemson paddling, we didn't come off looking all too great. We had some nice wins over ND and UNC the previous year, but I can't argue too much with wanting to take a wait and see approach with evaluating how our coaching staff ranks in the whole. We still drop some games we have no business losing (GT).

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

He probably is and I'm happy with him but the people in here saying he's top ten is just laughable.

Fuente has done nothing yet to earn that kind of praise. Putting up 10 wins and 9 wins in his first two years is impressive but if we're being completely honest here his best win was against a barely over .500 WVU and his teams have not only lost but have pretty much completely shit the bed every time they have an opportunity on the big stage against a marquee opponent. That's not top ten coach stuff.

his best win was against a barely over .500 WVU and his teams have not only lost but have pretty much completely shit the bed every time they have an opportunity on the big stage against a marquee opponent. That's not top ten coach stuff.

With reasoning like that, you could very much make the argument that leaving him out of the T25 altogether was justified, because, despite the 19 wins, he is still very much unproven at VT.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I'm not saying Fuente is a top 10 coach but find 2 coaches on that list that haven't at some point gotten blown out in big games.

Nick Saban is 1. And he's not really fair, him and Alabama are on a different level.

I can't find another coach on that list that hasn't been blown out in a big game at least once...

You don't have to win every one of those types of games. But he hasn't even won one yet.

The Ole Miss win at Memphis was one of those kinds of games, and really more impressive than almost any single win he could get at Tech

Nick Saban

I mean, if we're picking nits...

I've been cutting back on the drinking.

When Grier was in the starting lineup West Virginia won seven of 10 games, so I'd suggest the WVU team that VT played was better than a .500 team.

Still, you're right that Fuente hasn't earned accolades yet. He's done a great job at VT, but hasn't won enough big games there to cement him in a top 25 spot. I do think he'll get there though.

On most recent episode of the audible, Bruce ask Stew if he gave Fuente any consideration. His response:

There was some consideration. Virginia Tech's own football twitter account objected to him being left off of it and put up a graphic showing that he has won 9 games four years in a row, and how few coaches have done that, and yet, you'll see in a little bit that we have a mailbag question from a disgruntaled fan who is not all that impressed with Justin Fuente, so, he's not there yet.

Full episode below, Fuente talk starts around the 45 minute mark, the mailbag question referenced in above quote starts around the 49 minute mark.

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The overwhelming majority of the college football world still thinks Fuente is the best fit we could have found two years into his tenure.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Only UVA and WVU fans would argue that the VT coaching transition did not go nearly as good as it possibly could. Everyone - from Beamer to Whit to Bud to CJF handled it perfectly IMO.

Fuente has done an excellent job at VT thus far. Not easy to take over for a hall of fame coach, and in very short order he had the offense playing better i.e. not ranked in the 100's. Fuente was outstanding in Memphis as well he won at a dumpster fire place historically right in the middle of SEC country- so local recruits, he was getting their leftovers. He did a fantastic job there. Having said that, he needs to win some big games moving forward to be considered a top 25 coach overall in my opinion. His best win at VT is either Miami or WVU..two teams that were slightly above average those seasons. He's had chances- Tenn, Clemson twice, Miami last year, etc. I think that he needs to win a couple this year - ND, Miami would go a long way towards getting him in that top 25 category.

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Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

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