French's Take on the Last 72 hours

Ultimately, I want the program to be great, both for my joy and for the benefit of Southwest Virginia as a whole. I believe the events of the last 72 hours have damaged the chances of the program enjoying sustainable success.

Fuente didn't have the cache to do this without damaging lots of relationships. The administration looks bad because of their lack of investment in football. The players trust was shaken. VT looks like second tier because the story is "Baylor had more resources, but he stayed."

Nobody, Fuente or the administration looks good the way this has played out. And it is going to have long range consequences. Scaring folks with a game of chicken won't open wallets. Giving donors a reason to be enthusiastic and excited will. I was a strong advocate for the Fuente hire. But I am one of those folks (not an alum, but a big fan who has resources) whose support should be cultivated. And nothing about the last 72 hours makes me feel positive and excited.

Instead, if there isn't big time, controversy free winning (dominating the Coastal, winning ACC titles, being in the Playoff conversation), Fuente is now a lame duck coach. His retention is directly linked to the cost of his buyout. As it goes down, the chances of being retained by an admin he just publicly burned will go down as well. It may be next year, it may be a couple of years down the road, but the odds are completely against this freshman class graduating with Fuente as the head coach. His on the field performance to date, coupled with the personnel available make me believe it is very unlikely that we will see the dominance needed for him to have a long tenure.

That trickles down to recruiting and player development. Frankly, this stinks, and there needs to be a major effort to repair the broken trust across Hokie Nation. And there isn't a track record of this brain trust doing that effectively. So, here we are. I am bummed. I am resigned that I don't believe the team I spend my Saturday's away from the office with, that I am heavily vested in, will truly compete at a level which makes a fan be the most fun. I don't have confidence in the ability of the people who have to deliver the performance to make that emotional investment worthwhile. And, that sucks.

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Comments

That was a very well thought-out and well written opinion. It was based in reason and logic, but still acknowledged the emotions at play without being a hateful screed. I think that I and many others in this community could take a lesson here and take the time to frame our thoughts in the context of our emotions without letting them take over the narrative. Thank you, and I hope you're wrong, but I fear you're right.

Well said, Fuente didn't have enough goodwill in the tank to try this.

What happens when most of the fanbase is sick of it's head football coach? Find out next time on (Almost) everybody hates Fuente!

Frame by Frame
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In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
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And that is the issue. I am not "sick of the coach." I "lack the confidence that the coach has all the faculties needed for the program to achieve the level I hope it can achieve."

Those faculties include things beyond his direct control, but there are things he has to be better at in order to get where they need to go. And, right now I don't have the confidence that we will see those kinds of changes. At a bare minimum, the standoffish-ness, the closed door on access, and the lack of an evolved fundraising apparatus have to change. No more lip service. Do you have confidence that those things will change? I don't. And, that isn't even discussing the actual coaching and teaching of the game (there is promise and there are concerns), the management of personalities behind the scenes (which is harder to evaluate), and recruiting (continues to be a pain point.)

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Im just making a joke french it's alright my man๐Ÿ˜‚

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

The problem is, we aren't just going to be held back by the coach's faculties, I think we're also being held back by the athletic facilities. Love or hate Fuente for what he just did, but he isn't wrong that it's hard to get good players and coaches when you lag behind your competition in salaries and facilities.

Chris Coleman just posted a (I think) very good article about it on TSL. It's behind the paywall so I won't copy/paste, but he makes the point that VT's administration and fans needed a bit of a wakeup call if they think that we can succeed in 2020 with 20-40 year old facilities and a smaller staff than our competition. It doesn't look good to recruits and it makes the coaching staff's jobs harder.

People hated on Bill Roth for his comments about our facilities and on Fuente for interviewing with a school that is investing millions more than VT in salaries and new facilities. But the real problem for VT isn't what Roth said or what Fuente did. The real problem is that they're both right. Merryman is older than pretty much any of our players. And Jamerson is older than a lot of their parents. Fuente has publicly complained about not having enough staff to manage a large number of recruits visiting at once. That makes us look bad, not just because he said it, but because it's true. And what's worse, firing Fuente doesn't solve the problem. If VT refuses to invest in football after what just happened, it makes us look a lot less attractive when the time comes to replace Fuente.

If the administration won't put money into football after this week's events, we won't be a football school anymore. We're not going to get an up and coming hotshot coach, we'll be lucky to get a retread who just got fired from somewhere else. I don't think it matters if people have their panties in a bunch because of Fuente's interview or whether they think he walks on water. Fuente's interview isn't what we should be really worried about. The environment that led him to take the interview is a much bigger problem in my opinion.

agree -- there's a disconnect in fanbase perception of where we actually are in the college football landscape and where we think we are, and that disconnect is only increased when you think of it relative to where we want to be.

for what it's worth, which is probably very little, i'd much rather have academics than athletics. but that's not to say it has to be a choice between them.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

A lot of VT fans have a different viewpoint on VT's status in the larger football world than an outsider would (which is totally understandable). I would argue that VT hasn't been all that relevant on the national stage since 2011 and hiring a new head coach isn't enough to move that needle. We can fire Fuente if we want, but it won't fix the real problem, IMHO. Clemson isn't where they are because Dabo is such a brilliant coach. If we want what their fans have, we have to do our part, and that's a lot more than being loud at football games. Whit has done a great job hiring coaches, but his real legacy will be made, good or bad, with how he solves this problem. Otherwise, we're going to be that team that used to be good, but hasn't really done anything in a long time outside of the occasional lucky upset or maybe one overachieving season out of 10. Like UVA.

I don't want to be UVA. Don't let us be UVA, Whit. (Edit: In football, that is.)

To go off of your last point, UVA is conversely investing more into their football program. They hired an assistant AD from Georgia, who knows how to properly support a football program and and ensure its long-term success. They ponied up and hired a much better coach than Mike London, and more fans and alum are donating to their program. While I think they will definitely fall off next year without Perkins, they're setting up their program for long-term success. I just see our program regressing, in all aspects.

I am the heartbeat of Blacksburg. A fortress built out of stone but made with champions.

This was very well said and very well written. Thanks.

Yup. Bill Roth is completely correct in everything he said.

If we want to be a big boy program, we need to start acting like it. We need to open the checkbook and start spending to compete. And I strongly suspect if the fans started to see that money was legitimately being spent to actively make things better, the incentive to donate would be stronger.

Right now we're hanging out hats on having the best lockerroom of 2010, a 30 year old football facility that as given a new coat of paint a couple years ago and an indoor football field where you can punt without hitting the ceiling. Not exactly the wow factors that the rest of the football world has been rolling out the last few years.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

And I strongly suspect if the fans started to see that money was legitimately being spent to actively make things better, the incentive to donate would be stronger.

when the team was winning ACC championships we weren't exactly rolling in cash. i doubt the success in basketball (including CMY's hot start) over the last three years has moved the needle; I haven't looked at the donation numbers recently but are we improving in conference standing? After 2016 and taking clemson to the wire, i didn't see a movement of "we can keep doing this with more money". i think there's cultural and systemic issue in terms of what it will take to get big money at VT

Winning isn't going to move the needle on fundraising, but building flashy facilities will. And maybe we'll have to go into the red a little bit to make it all work, but people will donate if you have a tangible, trackable plan with a definable and transparent goal. Saying "give us money and help us win" will always be more difficult than "give us money so we can build this!" with architectural renders and approved plans in place. Especially if these kind of facilities might be able to be toured or used by those same donors during game days in the fall.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Agree 100%. I think the "Drive for 25" has helped some, but it's too vague. Don't be cute about it, say "this is how we can compete for ACC championships and beyond and this is how much it's going to cost. Give us money."

We need to open the checkbook and start spending to compete.

I hope by 'we' you mean fans? I don't believe that Whit is holding back funding from football

And I strongly suspect if the fans started to see that money was legitimately being spent to actively make things better, the incentive to donate would be stronger.

I would like the athletic department to be more forward about this. Why is it always the Hokie scholarship fund, and not salaries for support staff?

Twitter me

I don't believe that Whit is holding back funding from football

Above Whit...

I think you hit the nail on the head. IMHO we keep wasting money on these face lifts and renovations of our facilities. After spending millions of dollars, you can clearly tell that the buildings are still just plain old. We would be much better off tearing down and building new facilities than to keep the current and do a renovation every 5 years. How many millions did we use to redo Cassell? And to me it still feels ancient walking through there. Makes me sick to my stomach when I walk through JPJ and see what that other school has compared to what we have.

"These people are losing their minds" - Mike Patrick

To simplify my reaction:

VT's admin needed to put more support behind football.

Justin Fuente's timing is awful, and his performance isn't good enough as a coach to do this and not get blow back.

These two statements are not mutually exclusive. Even if this sparks better investment in VT's football program, showing up your boss usually doesn't go well unless you are untouchable as an employee. And, unless VT is crushing folks next year and beyond, that will be used to negatively recruit against VT and continue to erode the mechanisms that are needed to elevate the program.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Agree with you sentiments on nearly all counts.

Overall, I think there is essentially a 50/50 chance Fuente is at VT after 2020. I think he takes another job this offseason and I would not be surprised if he is encouraged to do so.

The only question in my mind is where he lands....another 8-5 season probably puts him at a mid-level P5, if he really puts it together and gets 10 or more wins, he might land a more prestigious job.

Oh, I agree completely. My post wasn't meant to excuse or dismiss The Interview, but rather to re-frame the discussion around the why of things, not around Fuente himself. At the end of the day, I couldn't care less who our coach is, I just want success for VT. We need to set ourselves up for the next decade whether Fuente sticks around or not. The further removed we get from our 2004-2011 heyday, the harder it's going to become to replace Fuente with a coach that has the same buzz and/or resume that he did when he was hired unless we show (financially) how committed we are to getting back to that level. Being a school that will fire you for not winning 10 games, not competing for conference championships, and not dominating your in-state rival only works at a top-tier football school. Alabama/Clemson/Ohio State, etc. can get away with sky high expectations because they are going to give the coach everything he needs to succeed. If he can't then it's on him. Those kinds of expectations without the same level of support are a huge red flag for any prospective coach we want to hire. I don't want us to fire Fuente just to find that suddenly we aren't the belle of the ball anymore and all our prospects are worse than the guy we just fired. We've seen it happen plenty of times in college football.

One notable aspect in the VT's admin's (higher-level) perspective is the expansion into Northern Virginia alongside the Amazon HQ2 campus. This would take time, but greatly increase the footprint of the university and meet their long term goals. This growth is likely to draw resources during that time to accomplish this project, and while we would hope the athletic dept would be independent, the focus is very real:

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/08/22/virginia-tech-outpaces-ge...

This! Once people get out of their fanatic feelings about Fuente and optics etc...hopefully they'll realize WHY this happened and stop dwelling on HOW it all happened. Why is much more important question than how IMO. We've got a great group coming back and we've got to maximize the momentum we'd built toward the end of the season. I don't care about Fuente's reasoning or anything. As long as he's running clean program and ball is rolling forward, I care about results. The leveraging behind the scenes and public fallout don't bother me because it's apart of major college football. Everybody wants the truth of the situation but half them wouldn't be able to handle it. Bottom line our entire staff is in place and we've got to focus on how to maximize the potential of the 2020 season. Support this staff and players as positively as we can and hope this thing takes off.

There's no glory in practice and lifting but without practice and lifting, there will be no glory!

" If the administration AND FANS won't put money into football after this week's events, we won't be a football school anymore."
FTFY.

"If you think you can or if you think you can't, you're probably right." Mark Twain

We appear to be 2nd tier because we are 2nd tier. Yes, that hurts to type but it is something I realized about 5 years ago. That is also when I started donating to the Hokie Club.

I see a positive in Baylor talking to Fuente, maybe this will wake up our largely dormant donor base and they will realize just how far behind VT is in terms of support staff and facilities.

The fact that your support needs to be "cultivated" is whiny. There is a segment of our fan base who won't donate bc our Hokie Club has been (or still is) unorganized and didn't reach out to them effectively.

Get over it. If you want VT to compete for anything more than a Coastal title, then join HokIe Club and get over yourself

The most effective fundraising campaign message I've ever heard: "Just shut up and take it and give us your money!"

Or see Jimbo Fisher's last season at FSU.

Go Hokies!

You speak the damn truth.

But I'm afraid you'll be skewered for these comments by a certain contingent who absolutely refuses to believe there is anything worth criticizing about how this all went down.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Just a bad look if you ask recruits to cease visits or you pull their scholly.

Edit: after what I just read, if true, I think we'll be appreciative for what Fuente May have accomplished. Now let's see if VT is ready to make good long term decisions for the program.

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

Winning solves everything, so there's that. This is very much a now thing. We'll see how it all plays out. Expecting something to go negative before it does rarely does much good in the world of fandom. Like others have stated, it's just the way of the twitterverse these days. We all are privy to more info than in the past and can all share our knee jerk reactions instantly and let them multiply and snowball. Frank Beamer was going to leave for UNf'nC, until he didn't. This definitely gives the anti-Fuente crowd more fuel, but it is what it is and it's time for everyone to move on and just support the team. Doing otherwise won't do anyone any good regardless of what people feel like they're owed. Let's let the new staff do their thing and pass judgement after the 2020 record unfolds.

I keep seeing this "Frank Beamer almost left for UNC...."

Completely different situations. Beamer almost going to UNC is very much on the same level as Buzz going to aTm. Accomplished all he could at the school he was at, and was lured away by a significant offer to a school with a much larger footprint, much larger alumni base, and far, far deeper pockets. Beamer was a year removed from being National Coach of the Year, he had all the leverage in the world, and in the end, decided to stay, but not before using his leverage to completely make things better for his staff. Him staying was regarded as a big win for the perception of VT, much in the same that if we were able to rebuff aTm for Buzz, it would have sent a shockwave through the basketball community.

Fuente, on the other hand? We're talking about Baylor here. They have a ton of new money, but in the end, they are a program with no real national profile looking to poach the head coach of arguably the 3rd or 4th highest profile football school in the ACC. The fact they even got to this stage does not paint us in the best light at all. Based on perception, VT is a higher profile job and should have more than enough resources to keep programs like Baylor at bay. The fact this all happened sends a shockwave through the football community in the opposite reason that the Beamer retention did. Its saying 'VT isn't the program it thinks it is anymore'.

That's not good.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Roth says it's a better job in every way. You look at the last decade and it's very clearly trending in their favor. You may say that's only been a decade but VT as a football "power" is less than 30 years old.

Baylor came after him. He listened. He turned down a $2M raise.

did you really just compare beamer almost leaving to brent having one foot out the door for a whole year before he left

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I am specifically not comparing how those situations went down, just comparing end result and the ramification of it

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Adding to your comment

but not before using his leverage to completely make things better for his staff

and the program. The bulldozer was scraping the ground for the practice fields he wanted the very next day.

That's a fucking fast bulldozer. Would make a hell of a linebacker.

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

currently plays for the bills

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

The scandal at Baylor was terrible but other than a year to recover from that they have had a much better program than we have the last decade. Big splash this year, almost (should have?) made the playoffs a few years ago and RG 3 winning the Heisman. Throw in a lot more money, closer to home and JF still turned them down after a courtesy interview. How does that put us in a bad light? If anything it shows commitment and that we are headed back to where we were. I also wish there was more transparency with the program but the way everybody has overreacted to this situation I probably wouldn't be transparent either.

Completely different situations. Beamer almost going to UNC is very much on the same level as Buzz going to aTm.

Baylor was one win short of a playoff appearance.

I think that Fuente is gone after next season one way or the other. Either we win big, do well and he moves into greener pastures or we don't do well and we cut bait.

Well, he certainly didn't have the goodwill on this comment board to do this.

In the real world, I think he's fine.

There is nothing about interviewing with Baylor that makes Fuente any more lame duck than he already was, except maybe his relationship with Whit, his coaches, or players, and that's up to Fuente to keep on an even keel. Anyone with their nose bent out of shape will need to get over it.

Any information regarding that in the public sphere from anyone other than Whit is rumor. Whit isn't normally the kind of guy who reacts emotionally. There will certainly folks that want to make this a big deal, but I'm guessing they were already off the Fuente train.

Agree with me, flame me, whatever, but that's how I see it.

did you just say there's nothing about interviewing with Baylor that makes Fuente any more lame duck than he already was, except (edit: maybe) for his relationships with his boss and his employees? isn't that precisely what makes a lame duck a lame duck?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Uhh, no.

What makes a lame duck is if they don't have decision power over their domain because they're already, in essence, on their way out of their job. Lame duck usually refers to a politician in their last year of office, when they don't have any power.

In this case, Fuente is still the CEO of this program, and has the power of a CEO. He's the head coach of VT football, and is still running the show.

or a lame duck refers to a coach who everyone knows is either (a) not getting his contract renewed or extended or (b) is about to be fired or (c) has a some sort of succession plan in place where someone external is brought in to be a replacement-in-waiting (like Bill Stewart once Dana Holgersen was brought in). Jason Garrett had been a lame duck for like three years in dallas even if jerry was never going to actually fire him.

I would argue that what makes a lame duck a lame duck is that his employees know that his boss doesn't have his back. I will be pleasantly surprised if this somehow turns out well for Fuente and VT.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Fuente doesn't meet any of the criteria you presented.

You literally laid out a case for how his relationships with employer and employees would be affected by this....

I think it's basically a coin flip whether or not fuente is our coach Week one 2021

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Strongly agree.

I think a "graceful exit" after the 2020 season is a very possible outcome for Fuente and VT.

A NY6 bowl and a top 15 Recruiting class could change all that, but nothing about Fuente's tenure so far suggests that either of those are likely.

I think that, behind closed doors, there are some hard feelings here, but of course no one is going to come out an talk about them in Public.

I think it's basically a coin flip whether or not fuente is our coach Week one 2021

I think this take assumes an awful lot. Which is my problem with many of the "hot takes" being presented here. They're based on assumptions.

This isn't at all about "coin flips". Fuente's future as head coach of VT football will depend on the success of VT football, not blind chance. Too many of the negative takes on Fuente are based on completely unsupported assumptions which have been bandied about on this site over the past few days among those who have disparaged Fuente all year.

A coin flip being that I think they're equally likely, not that someone is literally flipping a coin ๐Ÿคฆโ€โ™‚๏ธ

What exactly does it assume?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

You're assuming they're equally likely.

"I think" isn't an assumption, it's an opinion.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

IMO 'Lame Duck' means that the coach leaving is inevitable, regardless of results. If Fuente goes 11-1 this regular season (Unlikely, but possible) and inks a top 15-20 recruiting class, all will be forgiven by Whit, the fans, etc. I think this makes him NOT a lame duck coach.

Twitter me

for what it's worth, i don't think the average hokie fan is part of Hokie Twitter, TKP, TSL, VTScoop, etc.

I think sometimes we conflate "hokie nation" with the super fans who follow the program at a micro level and have opinions on which recruit is a take and the salaries of our recruiting analysts.

The problem is that the average fan isn't exactly the demographic the administration and athletics department need to be courting -- it's the super fans. However, having broader base appeal to the "average fan" can make it easier to get those super fans. e.g. widening the base can have a compound effect vs just deepening it.

We can't possibly know the outcome for certain until it's already happened. Maybe it's galvanizing. Maybe it's undermining. It's more likely to be undermining than galvanizing in my opinion -- but I do think there's a non-negligible chance that we're overblowing this in the moment.

I hope we win, and win a lot. I don't know that the Baylor Brouhaha helps us when all is said and done. But maybe it does?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Well, according to the super fans, the super fans are all that matter.

I'd say all the donors, students, and players for VT football matter, and I'm not sure this board is designed to reflect all their opinions in an even handed way.

obviously TKP isn't going to be a perfect composite of hokie fandom with accurately representative demographics. it's stupid to think otherwise.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

I've been defending the fact that Fuente's actions are not morally or ethically questionable all day. Criticisms, like this, about the strategy and long term implications of this move, I think, are more than fair.

I disagree that this makes VT look like a second class institution. I think all it does is turn attention to the already well known fact that VT has fewer resources than most P5 schools, especially schools in Texas. Having fewer resources, in my opinion, does not make us a second tier institution... but admittedly, I have a different set of values than most when it comes to these issues.

I agree that Fuente hasn't really earned the capital (wins or high level of fan appreciation) to pull this off without turning some heads. At the same time, I dont think his actions deserved nearly the level of vitriol and anger they generated and ultimately our response to a situation where no moral or ethical boundaries were pushed is our responsibility, not his.

In the end Fuente bet on himself to win enough this year and next for this to become a distant memory. I hope he is right and I suspect you are right... he wont be here in four years. He will either parlay the success he is betting on into a "better" Big XII job or he wont be retained at the end of his contract. If that happens, which I think is moderately likely, wouldn't it be a success? When he was hired we all assumed the best case scenario was that he'd end up back in the midwest after restoring VT to a consistent 10 win level. If what is being reported is all true this is Fuente pushing his chips in saying, I could get Baylor now, or you can give this program the boost I think it needs and I can get something better later.

Its not ideal... its not Beamer... but it's not bad and lines up pretty well with what I thought we all expected when he was hired.

Edit: meant to add somewhere in there that I do wish Fuente was more engaging/likable from a distance and I am also tired of all the drama that has plagued the football team especially the last 2 years. I also think the impact of this situation on re ruiting will be more or less negligible but trending toward negative.

Exactly. If he isn't happy in the job, he is welcome to look. I look all the time.

The issue here is how this was handled. Beamer's dalliances in 97 and 2000 didn't happen in a world of social media. I didn't know about UNC until it was announced he wasn't going. And, I truly believe that the UNC dalliance was the beginning of a dangerous period for Beamer, culminating in the 2003 meltdown. If they didn't have the memorable 2004 ACC title run, I really think Beamer would have been on the hot seat, in part because he burned up a bunch of his cache with the UNC flirtation.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

If joe didn't know that already he knows now.

*Meaning my big boy job

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Riiiiiight.... be honest - how much did Le Sabre offer?

Their zima stockpile is top tier

Danny is always open
23 can't read

Brother, you summed up my feelings perfectly.

I appreciate your perspective as always and agree with you on a lot of points regarding program access and overall charisma. Not everyone has to be Dabo, but you gotta sell the vision, which we haven't been doing well from the top down in the Athletics Department. (I hate UVA more than anything but went to their new online athletics campaign and its impressive).

I disagree with the fact that the particular events over the past 48/72 hours change our trajectory much as a program. Fuente's show up or shut up years have always realistically been 2020 and 2021, bc he didn't start the first 2 years with a complete rebuild (like UVA). This coming year is essentially year 3 of the full rebuild with all of his recruits as upperclassmen. The only thing I think this does is maybe move that timeline up for needing to win 10 & the Coastal this year instead of the 2 year leash I thought he had before. I am hopeful that whatever happened because of this will give us more recruiting support staff to allow us to continue what is a promising 2021 class with a program changing recruit combined with a strong 2020 season.

Well articulated but I would disagree with some of your thoughts.

Anyone with a heart beat knows we're being out-gunned in the $$$ category nowadays in CFB, so Baylor being a better destination than VT right now is fairly common knowledge. To boot, it's not speculation - it's a true fact.

Players also know that CFB is a business. Very few players fall in love with a coach as they're always on the go; we were spoiled with Beamer but what Fuente did is nothing new. The fact that he still turned down a 50% raise is a good sign that can be built-upon.

If Fuente has a great season next year no ones going to be talking about this. It'll be in the past news cycle as everything else tends to be these days. This might sting in the short-term, but I think this will get people to reassess where VT stands as a whole, and maybe make them more proactive about giving. I know it did for me.

I think that if you woke up tomorrow, and thought about it again, it wouldn't be as bad as you think.

First, the whole fiasco only lasted about 36 hours. At 7:30pm on Tuesday, Thamel releases his tweet. On Wednesday, Fuente meets with Baylor (location TBD, but seems like not in Waco). Afterwards he meets with Whit, and decides to stay, sometime before 8:05am on Thursday. I don't think Fuente let it drag out for a reason, and he knew he had a lot riding on this decision, and not just for him, but for a lot of people.

I agree that Fuente needs to make some changes to endear himself to the fans, but we are honestly shooting so far into the dark on a moonless night it is scary to make guesses on what really happened. Who knows why Fuente met with them? There could have been so many implications there that we just don't know about. Maybe there is some tie there to someone at Baylor, and Fuente felt he owed them an honest interview. Who knows. I doubt he will ever tell us, but maybe it was for the good of VT. We just won't know.

What I do know is that the average fan and donor will not remember this come August. We thought the sky was falling all kinds of times here, including myself, like when Barber found out VT was fining players in regard to their bowl stipend, after the Duke game, after the ODU game, Wakeyleaks, after the AME game where Miami almost shut us out (thanks Mark Leal), the SI story, the massive portal exodus, when we took forever to hire Loeffler and Pep Hamilton turned us down, etc. Ask most fans about those events and they would look lost - they don't remember what the uber-fans here do.

I think it is fine to be worried. It is fine to think Fuente isn't the coach for VT, or that he will not have success here. But I really don't think that the fallout is what you claim it to be. Whit, players, coaches and staff have all tweeted out support. I don't see the relationships broken (I know this is twitter, etc.). And if Fuente fails, what about these 36 hours will change the fact that it he will probably have to be fired, and we will have to eat a ton of buyout money?

Yesterday was absolutely terrible. It sucked. I felt betrayed. I wanted Fuente gone. I still want to hear more about the situation to be sure where I stand, but I truly think this doesn't play a major factor in the overall trajectory of the program.

I'm glad we had so many early signees before this shit went down. It gives Fu a chance to right the ship and win with who is in house already. I worry about recruits who punted their signing to February instead, but that is what it is.

He has to win. Win and fans who don't have time for twitter will think he's the best ever. Win and fans who obsessed over every tweet in the last 24 hours will have this as a distant memory. Win and Fu can lobby for a contract extension to clear the air around the whole decreasing buyout business (but please, whit, put in some extra cash for us if he does leave on his own).

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)..

I worry about recruits who punted their signing to February instead

Ah shit, after all of this we can't afford to lose Jahad Carter.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I agree 100% with you here, French. The longer I digest things and read others' thoughts, I realize that two distinct but not unrelated arguments are at play here.

The first is the fact that we need a major investment of resources and facilities into the football program to remain competitive. I am in total agreement that this needs to be done. I have long said that the day VT got into the ACC, the admin took their foot off the gas in football. We have fallen behind in the arms race and have become reactionary instead of proactive. This has been festering for a while. My major gripe of Whit is the over-investment in other sports while football is slowly decaying. It's a bad strategy to attempt to be a Director's Cup school while your main lifeline is struggling. The admin needs to prioritize better, and fundraising needs to improve.

The second argument and issue that ties in with the first is does the fan/donor base have confidence that Fuente is the right guy for the job. That I believe to a large extent is becoming a resounding no. This fan base is screaming out for engagement. They want to be a part of building VT Athletics. And we have a coach who has largely done nothing but wall the fans out and disengage slowly since he got here. It's completely unacceptable. If there's no confidence in the captain driving the ship, how can you expect people to give more and more when their enjoyment and benefit from the product continues to go down? As you have mention, I think Fuente is a solid coach and good football mind, but he has a lot of shortcomings that have manifested themselves into huge warning signs that he is not going to be the right guy to take us to the next level. More facilities and plane trips for recruiting are big picture items, long term planning to compete with the big dogs. We just got punked at home by Duke and showed up at UVA with the wrong gameplan. We can't even get out of our division, much less compete with the big dogs.

Fuente took this job knowing the challenges and limitations that existed at VT. And they only recently become a problem worth pulling a stunt like this now that the program has regressed after his hot start fizzled out? I agree it's an issue, but damn this could have been handled much better, and frankly I think he is using it in a way to excuse underperforming and give himself job protection rather than for the program's true benefit.

This entire saga was handled horribly. I get that it may have been a wake up call to the admin and fans, but at what cost? VT looks like they really dropped the ball now. And the fan base is not going to respond positively and give money hand over fist if there is little confidence in the man driving the ship.

Fuente took this job knowing the challenges and limitations that existed at VT. And they only recently become a problem worth pulling a stunt like this now that the program has regressed after his hot start fizzled out?

for what it's worth, he leveraged the two good seasons he had into contract extensions. he would have been insane to try this after the 6-7 season in 2018. and i think he's probably more tone-deaf than anything in trying it after the 8-5 season we just had with the bad losses, losing the cup streak, and just looking soft in some games.

part of me wonders if the administration/athletics department didn't back him by doing what it took to bring in Odom as DC, and there's a little bit of misguided and misplaced im-gonna-stick-it-to-ya involved.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

The facilities issue has been a problem for a long time now. If Fuente was worth his salt coming in, he would have said we need to invest in facilities, we need more staff, and I'm calling upon the fans and admin to rise to the challenge and join me in returning VT football to the top. Instead we hear that Bud isn't going to have to win all the games with defense anymore, we are going to do things our way, and an exciting new offense is coming to VT. The facilities and resources argument is very valid and legitimate, but now I unfortunately feel like it's being weaponized and used to silence criticism, which frankly makes me mad as a fan and leads me to believe Fu had no idea what he was getting into.

This is pure speculation, but it could also be the case that Fuente was told that the facilities/staff salaries issues would be addressed and he doesn't feel like that's happening. I don't know if that's true, but it would fit the timeline...

My major gripe of Whit is the over-investment in other sports while football is slowly decaying. It's a bad strategy to attempt to be a Director's Cup school while your main lifeline is struggling. The admin needs to prioritize better, and fundraising needs to improve.

Yep. Bigtime investments in baseball, WBB, WLAX, and T&F have come at the expense of football. I get a well-rounded AD is nice, but I don't find it to be imperative. There is a point where you hit diminishing returns, and I think we've approached that.

Fuente took this job knowing the challenges and limitations that existed at VT.

There has been conflicting info here. Based on (free) 247 posts, it reads like Fuente had been promised certain financial commitments from the AD and above that were either reneged, or not provided.

Additionally, CZY mentioned that "we have money to be much more competitive than we are, we don't have the commitment from those who approve the spending to utilize it all" That stuck out to me bigtime. Dabo says everyone at Clemson is on the same page (and you know everyone at a place like LSU is). That's not the case at VT.

Edit: LAhokie seemed to confirm this last paragraph below.

The first is the fact that we need a major investment of resources and facilities into the football program to remain competitive.

The question is how? The Drive for 25 did OK, but as Joe pointed out on Twitter, VT missed a golden opportunity to engage the fanbase and say, "See, our head coach is being interviewed, and we need the financial resources to keep him by giving him what he needs to be competitive." There has been testimonies on this website of the horror show donating to Virginia Tech is. The lack of interdepartmental protocol and procedure is glaring and should cast an embarrassing light on the university. There appears to be multiple clubs for different type of alumni and I think that creates unnecessary confusion and adds layers of unneeded bureaucracy. Somebody in the food chain needs to get cracking on streamlining the donation process. Overhaul it, pronto. Virginia Tech fancies itself as an innovative engineering school. Put that to work.

To your second point about Fuente's personality and lack of engagement, well, I can't argue with that. I once saw him at St. Mary's in Blacksburg and he came across as uptight, but again, it was his daughter's first Communion, so I can understand if he was just incredibly focused on his daughter's first Communion. No, I did not go up and introduce myself because it was a family affair and I chose to leave him in peace. However, there have been some who said that Fuente comes across as detached and that is concerning, but again, when he is posing with recruits on social media, he smiles and seem to be genuine, so I don't know. I have not interacted with him in any way, so I cannot give a honest take on his personality. When the camera is on him, he appears to be locked in the game, thinking of many things at once while allowing the assistant coaches to do their job without micromanaging. He exhibit emotions and keeps himself in check. He is who he is, maybe somebody like Belichick who seem like he would rather eat live crow than to have a conversation with the media.

I don't disagree that the whole thing with Fuente-to-Baylor was super awkward, but it has happened. In time it will fade, but will still be a sticking point for some.

โ€œWho is this Fuentes person that you speak about?โ€ -McHokie540

VT missed a golden opportunity to engage the fanbase and say, "See, our head coach is being interviewed, and we need the financial resources to keep him by giving him what he needs to be competitive."

They sorta halfway got there tonight. All alumni (I'm assuming so since I got one) got an email "a message from the AD" with a video and link to a Hokiesports recap of Whit's press conference with the media. At the bottom was a graphic asking for donations to the athletic department. But I say "halfway" because its just a generic donation message. You can tell they are kind of hinting at it but really, they should just come out and say it the way you mentioned in the quote I pulled.

They obviously know the fanbase is irked because they felt the need to send out the email so also use that time to really try some hardselling on donations. The write up actually almost goes in the wrong direction imo. It mentions how Fuente turned down Baylor and the money (which is fine), but then starts listing new facilities we have. It almost came off too close to "we have stuff and its enough" when it needed more of a "we have stuff, but can do more, here's how you can help" spin.

Can I blame him for interviewing for the job? Not at all but if it was a move to try and get more money or whichever to me this wasnt the timing for it. Sure you cant plan a oppurtunity like Baylor knocking on the door at all but if I'm going to go ask my boss for better equiptment or a raise I'm not going to do it right after I make a big shit show of a pile of work. I'm going to wait until the stars align and have good work to show off from recent jobs.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

How is all of this being reported from Baylor's end? Are they saying that they did indeed want him and he turned them down? That is still just very hard to believe. Seems much more likely that Fuente interviewed and either got turned down or saw the writing on the wall and knew an offer wasn't coming. It just seems very weird that he would've kept Whit in the dark. Not that you have to inform your boss, but Whit was eventually going to find out. These things don't stay secret. Regardless of whether he thought he would end up at Baylor, or if it was just a quick look and he'd likely be back at VT, why not tell Whit? If it went down as we are all hearing, then it seems ridiculous of Fuente to think he could keep it a secret.

Like everyone is saying...not much changes; it just puts the pressure on the 2020 season. But it already was.

Baylor isn't going to let it get out that they were turned down. Makes them look bad.
But that is indeed the rumor. You can choose to believe it or not.

I have to disagree with a lot of what French says here. Like it or not, VT football doesn't have the resources it needs to compete at the level you want. For perspective, Rutgers is currently spending more on football than VT. Rutgers! Let that sink in. And it's not because Whit is a cheapskate. It's because that's all that's in the budget. VT fans have been spoiled by cut-rate salaries for coaches for a generation or more, and hopefully this will open some eyes as to the realities of the current market. I'm not optimistic that the culture will change fast enough to matter, though.

Baylor can say whatever they want. But this is what our AD said today:

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Does anyone have any timeline for what actually did and did not happen? I feel like all of this has been driven by our own internet madness, but nobody from VT or Baylor has refuted or confirmed any of the reported information.

In truth, No.

From perusing the Baylor boards, very few there think Fuente ever had an offer to take over as HC.

There seems to be a split as to whether he was in Waco at all yesterday. Per most, their AD Rhoades works extremely close to the vest and would not have been likely to make a show of bringing Fuente and his wife into Waco. That doesn't discount the fact that Fuente could have interviewed prior to yesterday.

In general, the feeling from the BU crowd seems to be that Fuente was a candidate but was most likely not offered the HC and that he used the entire situation to leverage VT.

Probably no one other than Fuente, his Agent, and a very select few within the Baylor Ath. Dept know the exact truth and it seems highly doubtful that it will come to light in public.

Author's note: NOBODY hopes I am wrong about this more than me.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

articleLooks like Dave Aranda from LSU is gonna get the Baylor job...

Can't we all be happy we aren't getting Rich Rod!!!!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

I agree with a good amount of your points, but not all of them. I don't think it will have much of an effect on donations either way. As much as people don't want to hear it, the VT fan base is very unsophisticated and uneducated in regards to the effect of their donation level on the program. The majority of VT fans are very reactionary, meaning that they will donate when things are going well and will hold onto their money when things aren't going well. A more aware fan base understands that money is what dictates change. His performance on the field is what will drive the support level from the fan base.

As far as recruiting goes, it all comes down to how it is spun. If our staff is able to sell the "we had an opportunity to take MUCH money at a school in an area closer to home but chose this program instead" well enough, then it can be a very strong pitch. But I have my concerns on whether or not these guys can do that.

Where the inflection point rests, however, is with the administration. From what I understand, much (read: all) of Fu's interest in Baylor stems from their willingness to spend. Not on his salary or that of his main assistants, but more for the support staff and facilities. Whether you agree with it or not, Whit and Sands have prioritized the improvement of VT's Director's Cup standing over that of the football program. We have money available, but it is being allocated elsewhere at the moment.

Fuente is a very calculated person. While I don't doubt that he had genuine interest in the Baylor job, id be willing to bet that he had an ulterior motive. I know with a high degree of certainty that he's met with Whit and Sands at least twice over the last 48 or so hours. I'd be willing to bet that Fuente sought commitments from those two to direct some funding back over to the football program and made it very clear that he'd be on the first plane to Waco if they didn't make it happen.

Now it's in the hands of the administration. If they are able to give him what he wants, then we're in a better spot than we were even 48 hours ago. A (hopefully) successful season coupled with one of the better recruiting classes in school history will increase donations. If we can build on that with increased funding from the administration, the fan base will easily forget about this episode. If we don't get that support, then this could easily be just a short term success period, similar to 2016.

Imo, this summer is the biggest period in deterring the future success of the program since hiring Fuente. It could literally either bury us, or set us to new heights.

Whit and Sands have prioritized the improvement of VT's Director's Cup standing over that of the football program. We have money available, but it is being allocated elsewhere at the moment.

This blows my mind. Like, I get it, I appreciate the fact that we are becoming more competitive in all sports, but we are not, nor have really ever been in the position to prioritize the non-revs at the expense of our cash cow. We fall behind in football, and that cash cow will dry up, which would be devastating to VT as a whole.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

As much as I see the gap between the haves and have nots widening in football and feel like trying to keep up foolish, football still draws the highest revenue of all college sports and we need to at least be in the race every year.

If I could pick any sport to really increase spending it would be basketball. The NCAA tourney provides the the best chance of a small school winning a national championship with a lightning in a bottle season. VT may not every see another shot at a football natty, but could win a basketball championship without having to pump millions into facilities and support staff.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

LA, this is some great insight. A few points I'd like to emphasize for clarity (in addition to what Alum responded):

the VT fan base is very unsophisticated and uneducated in regards to the effect of their donation level on the program

This is a two way street, we as fans need to be invested enough to dig out the information we need to understand how re donations are used. At the same time, the Hokie Club needs to be sure that message and information is available and clearly communicated. A perusal of the Hokie Club website has no capital investment plan information or link to it on other sites (like the Athletic Association or other site). Lots of discussions on how to give, but, other than cost of scholarships data, no capital improvement planning information (there is a page on what is going on now, but nothing forward looking).

The majority of VT fans are very reactionary, meaning that they will donate when things are going well and will hold onto their money when things aren't going well. A more aware fan base understands that money is what dictates change.

Is the Hokie fanbase any different than other college P5 fan bases? Certainly all fanbases have a portion of the giving community that are invested for the long haul and another portion that is more reactionary. Do you have info that shows that the VT fanbase is this way?

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

Can you talk more about Sands's input in this matter? I always thought that he just hired Whit, and Whit runs the athletic dept, without much input from Sands. Hearing more about Sands being involved in athletics concerns me. I don't want VT to turn into Purdue.

Twitter me

I understand the frustration but there is no good timing. If he waits to complain about a lack of resources after he is fired, it's just sour grapes.

If the Admin has not following thru on promises made, they deserve to be called out.
Complaining in private hasn't moved the needle.

Baylor was ready to make his family set for life, that's a pretty rare opportunity.

I agree with the timing thing, there really is no great time to do this. If he feels he needed to do it to improve his chances of success at VT, that was his choice to make. That being said, I would argue that his family is already set for life. He's a millionaire in his early 40s. He could retire tomorrow and never work another day in his life with some fairly simple investments.

True, but if money didn't matter some elite coaches wouldn't make so much more of it than their peers.

Fuente stays at VT long enough for the buy out to be a non-issue and when the time comes and Beamer 2.0 has enough experience to feel like a worthy successor, he finishes what daddy started.

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

Or, Bud resolves his heart issues by having it removed entirely (defensive coordinators don't need hearts) and replaced with a block of solid ice. Frank Beamer gets a new cybernetic body (courtesy of VT Engineering) and now robo-Frank and Bud are back and ready to destroy.

This pairs well with out old school motto: Invent the Future

Would you be opposed to taking Frank's brain and blending his cognitive abilities with that of Young Beamer's brain and then implanting it onto Young Beamer's body for youth and vibrancy in the locker room?

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

Nah, he doesn't need flesh. He should be implanted into an M1 tank.

Solid 4th and short plan.

Tank Package

VT Marketing Class of 2009
Current Roanoke-Hokie
Go Hokies!

Thank god Beamer got too old before twerking was a thing

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Since this is the most reasonable thread that I have seen so far and now that we know for a fact that Fuente is staying, I hope the fan base will take a lesson from French here and learn to control their emotions before posting on social media/internet blogs. To wit, I offer this anecdote about Jimbo Fisher and FSU:

Post Christmas, 2017 and Jimbo Fisher decides to throw away the family Christmas tree. For one reason or another, a picture is taken of the tree on the curb and the FSU fan base starts wild speculation about the significance of the tree on the curb. It's just one of those things, but because of past dalliances with other schools and the poor performance of that years team, the pic goes viral and suddenly fans are asking him on his radio show and other appearances what the heck is going on. One guy even blasted him live, in front of a studio audience for "Loyalty" while receiving applause from the live audience! The whole thing starts to snowball, gaining more and more momentum. Now, I am not saying the pic and how it went down with the FSU fan base is why Jimbo left FSU for Texas A&M, but I imagine it didn't help anyone. The fan base was inflamed, Jimbo was scratching his head, wondering what's the deal about the tree, and the donors were probably wondering if Jimbo was threatening to leave FSU again as a ploy to get more money out of them. Texas A&M came looking for a new head coach at the right time and well, that's all she wrote. When asked a year later about the tree, Jimbo said something to the effect that the tree was dying and he needed to get rid of it. He just couldn't understand why everyone went goody over a tree on the curbside of the road.

Enjoy fellow Hokies and please take a chill pill. Or, just grouse to your friends and coworkers and do not post on internet until it's blown over. ๐Ÿคฃ

Go Hokies!

Post Christmas, 2017 and Jimbo Fisher decides to throw away the family Christmas tree.

Rumors were already circling that Jimbo was leaving, he'd had a noticeable lack of recruiting effort that had fans concerned, and his tree was on the curb after Thanksgiving and well before Christmas. While I agree with you that we should take a deep breath before going on a lunatic rant on the internet, the tree on the curb ignited a firestorm because all indications were that Jimbo was gone...not the other way around.

As a fan of both FSU and VT, I'm getting really tired of losing coaches to Texas, so for now, I'm happy Fuente stayed. Hopefully the stars align properly and VT has a great upcoming season.

Go Hokies!!

Sorry for the mistake about the date of the tree incident. I was just writing it from memory. No harm was intended.

Go Hokies!

I figured no harm was meant, no offense was taken, and your point was valid..."Don't get worked up over appearances".

I wasn't calling you out...was just making sure Jimbo didn't get a pass. He left in just about the worst way possible and left the program in shambles. He was completely apathetic on the sidelines his last season, and he left the school with no recruits, on the bubble academically, no team discipline, and no time for an in-depth coaching search.

Go Hokies!!

Find it extremely disingenuous that Fuente didn't speak at all. Not surprised though because that is who Fuente is. Doesn't like to talk and finds media things not needed.

Whit went AD 101 and good for him because not a whole lot of it adds up and being honest in this situation makes it look worse.

Super lame move to put this all on Whit to discuss. Just yet again hits home the fact that he simply doesn't get it and doesn't care to engage the fans. How much football is there realistically to coach? Aren't the players on break?

Super lame move to put this all on Whit to discuss.

No risk of contradicting stories with only one guy speaking, especially if they're fielding questions.

True. The best way to speak with one voice is with one voice.

Whit: "I'm going to do the presser"
Fu: "Cool, I'd rather be at work"

Whit to press: "Justin would rather be at work coaching football, so I'm doing the presser"

I get that, but honestly, how hard is for two guys to sit in a room the day before and hash out a strategy. If everything is cool, it should actually be rather easy. The A move PR wise is both should have been there. They have a script they need to stick to. Like say Fuente gives a statement and so does Whit but Whit fields most of the questions. You keep it short. You control the room and the message. You answer a couple of questions you know are coming because you prepared for it, you answer and you move on not letting the media pry. They went with the the B move by just sending Whit. It's still a passing grade, but there was room for improvement there, ya know? Like I feel like you could smooth out some wrinkles rather easily simply just by having Fuente sitting there. Sometimes a simple appearance and its projection can quell stuff.

Unless what he was doing was answering the questions of the coaching staff the same way Whit was talking to the media?

How much football is there realistically to coach?

It's one of the first days- if not the very first day- with all of the new staff in town, which seems like a valuable opportunity for the coaches to get together before the players start school next week. We do have a brand new defensive coordinator taking over with 4 assistant coaches he hasn't worked with before.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Nah, this is the public way to say a bridge had been burned. Whit didn't want him to yap, probably got a tongue lashing from Sands, and passed it down to Fu.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

These are the kind of assumptions that got us into trouble in the first place.

stick it in, stick it in, stick it in!

Not a good start. Stinks like a whorehouse at low tide.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Is it basketball season yet?

At this point, one thing we can say with certainty is that Fuente is a bit of a polarizing figure. Personally, I kind of like his demeanor, and I have taken at face value his statements that he has limited access because he wants the players and his staff to be able to work and grow without being under a microscope. But I'm a believer in the saying that perception is reality. And if the perception is that he's not popular with the fanbase, then I can see merit to the argument that he might be turning off big donors. On the flip side, we could have a cheerleader for a coach who isn't winning either, and it probably still wouldn't move the needle on the donor issue that much. I just think this is Fuente's style and he believes he can win. This is the year we should find out.

I'm definitely still staying tuned. Despite the angst, I suspect most everyone on this site will be tuned in as well. The stakes are high, the expectation, the drama. Are we not entertained??!

"Jimmy thinks these are too small!"

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

I think you may be a little caught up in the heat of the moment. Wait a few days and go back to analyze the timeline of actual events and you may feel a little differently. It was a whirlwind, but in reality it was 24 hours of Twitter chaos for which all we know happened is Fuente drove out to meet Baylor admins to discuss an opening and he turned it down.

"I am probably too rational to be here"

Meh.

That to me is the worst feeling for a fan base that needs a jolt, badly. This program has never been the same since Danny Coale caught it. 6-6 seasons, a couple of 8 win years, yeah 2016 was fun.

Mirror that with the previous decade. Orange Bowls, Sugar Bowls, national title talk. I want to see the stands full again, I want to see the student section packed. It's rough being a meh program, but that's where we are now.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

French got say you need to take a different perspective. Less on Fuente and more on the impact of $$$ on team and school What transpired actually awoke me. and got me to donate. I was a gold Hokie from 2000-2011 and my last straw was the ACC champ game against Clemson. Beamers blind loyalty to Stinespring and the lack of being able to compete at the next level made me feel like my donation was wasted. But in the long run I didn't even the consider how we were falling behind in the infrastructure department. So I am officially a golden Hokie today again. If I not see a plan within the next two years to upgrade our facilities then I will be back on the sideline again.

I think people are misremembering just how terrible Memphis was as a football program and where we were before Justin Fuente came in....

Next year will be telling of whether or not VT is a good fit, but make no mistake, time will tell, Justin Fuente is a good football coach.

If donations are so important for the football program to be successful, can someone explain to me why the Memphis football team, where Fuente came from, with far less revenue than VT, could produce a team that finished the season in the top 20? Do they have the facilities that VT has? What has attracted the recruits to that school if facilities are so important? I get it that having a top notch facility and lots of money to do recruiting all over the country and paying huge salaries to the staff can only help but would still like an answer to the first part of this post.

You're looking at single season, not a macro trend. Memphis has finished top 25 twice in the last five years. If VT finishes top 25 next year, they will equal that feat in the same length of time.

FWIW, since Fuente left, the only P5 teams Memphis has beaten is Kansas, UCLA, and Ole Miss - none of which finished the season in which they played Memphis with more than 7 wins. That doesn't mean they don't have any 'quality wins' in that time, but they are coming against teams fighting in the same weight class (aka similar revenue numbers) as them.

Twitter me

I don't think Fuente's goal is becoming Memphis, I think he wants VT to compete as a top 10 team.

I understand that getting to Memphis's level would be a step in the right direction right now, but laying the foundation today to be better than Memphis is vital to becoming a top 10 program.

Ultimately, I want the program to be great, both for my joy and for the benefit of Southwest Virginia as a whole. I believe the events of the last 72 hours have damaged the chances of the program enjoying sustainable success.

Fuente didn't have the cache to do this without damaging lots of relationships.

I have to say, French, I love your X's and O's commentary, but I don't share this take at all.

Fuente talked to Baylor. He took the time to hear what they had to say. He chose to stay. The much-ballyhooed Whit-snub has been denied by Whit himself. I don't see it as a program-soul-crushing-big-deal.

This seems to me more about this site getting it's panties in a bunch over a possibility that wasn't realized. The hot takes jumped the gun and over-reacted. Fuente stayed. It certainly doesn't make him a "lame duck" coach.

I think the folks on this site need to take a step back for a moment and get a grip. We've had other schools interested in our coaches before. We've had coaches interview at other programs before. The biggest difference is that we didn't always get twitter notifications in real time, and we didn't have the ability to react quite so quickly.

Fuente is a decent coach. From the reactions yesterday, I'd say even the naysayers realize that. Like him or not, he'll be the coach for the next year or two unless we have entire seasons that look like the first four weeks of the last one.

If we win the games we should win next year, we'll all be pretty happy. If we beat Penn State we'll be on cloud nine. If it goes as I believe it will, (and even as French has said in the past HE believes it will go), I think we're going to be OK.

Edit: increased the size of the quote I was responding to

The biggest difference is that we didn't always get twitter notifications in real time, and we didn't have the ability to react quite so quickly.

Neither did recruits nor opposing coaches. It's a pretty bad look when a recruit like Tyree, who has been preaching the gospel of VT and coach Fuente, is tweeting at currently players trying to figure out what's going on. You think Tyree is going to keep telling every high schooler nearby him that VT is the shit, or do you think he's going to chill with that?

For the first time since the 2017 season, the program appeared to be trending up. This situation crushed the momentum, or at the very least the fan excitement around the program.

I think it's still too soon to understand the ramifications of this situation. Best case this is a wake up for donors (and Sands/BoV) about how far behind VT is. Worst case, this has eroded the trust of the high school coaches who were just starting to believe Fuente's vision, and we will see the effects of this for years to come.

It might be extreme to call this saga 'soul crushing,' but any way you slice it, it's not a good look.

Twitter me

I think the "this has eroded the trust..." commentary is a bit overblown.

Yes, everybody gets information in real time, and yes, only some of what you hear on twitter is true, while most of what you hear on twitter is an overreaction.

Some people may have been surprised.

But I think most people can handle the news that Baylor was interested in Fuente and Fuente heard them out and turned them down, without completely losing faith in Fuente or the future of Virginia Tech football.

I think that some of the hotter takes on this were overblown, that they'd have been better to wait even another 24 hours, and that Virginia Tech football will be OK.

Cough Cough. League and schedule. No one takes Memphis serious at national level. And that's what we are talking about

Thank you French for the Post. I agree with everything you are saying.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I wish our overall fan base wasn't so piss poor and would donate to the Hokie Club.

I used to make fun of my Clemson buddies about IPTAY. Oops.

1. Exactly zero people on earth or this site lauded Baylor football as a top 10 program or comparable to Texas or Oklahoma or 1995 Nebraska or 2013 alabama. Zero people. None ever anywhere. A whole 4 years ago the program was rougue with rapists and a slime coach. Until 3 years ago they played in a clown stadium where exactly 10 people showed up for games. 15 years ago they were the laughing stock of the Big 12/SWC. They were basically Duke football. So while I appreciate Baylor passing us in every way the last 2 years or so, nodbody on earth thought that until Fuente interviewed. think about that. and 2. French is 100% correct.

From a 2017 article, VT spent $31.15mil on football (#16.) "No ACC school spends a greater percentage of their athletic department budget on football than Virginia Tech. In fact, they rank No. 2 in the country among power-five schools in prioritizing football, trailing only Alabama."-AP
Also, Baylore spent $29.54mil on football (#23.) "Baylor ranks No. 3 among private schools in terms of spending on football, a significant reason for the program's turnaround in recent years." -AP

While I understand the perception, maybe it's just distance and separation that made them seem so insignificant. They weren't that far behind us in 2017, and quite potentially had a plan in place to improve all facets of the program to get to where they are now, and beyond.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

11 2009 Big 12 4 8 0 .333 -2.30 4.37 Art Briles (4-8)
12 2008 Big 12 4 8 0 .333 2.59 5.68 Art Briles (4-8)
13 2007 Big 12 3 9 0 .250 -11.15 2.60 Guy Morriss (3-9)
14 2006 Big 12 4 8 0 .333 -4.62 1.88 Guy Morriss (4-8)
15 2005 Big 12 5 6 0 .455 0.76 3.03 Guy Morriss (5-6)
16 2004 Big 12 3 8 0 .273 -7.51 4.67 Guy Morriss (3-8)
17 2003 Big 12 3 9 0 .250 -9.46 1.79 Guy Morriss (3-9)
18 2002 Big 12 3 9 0 .250 -11.02 3.31 Kevin Steele (3-9)
19 2001 Big 12 3 8 0 .273 -6.84 2.25 Kevin Steele (3-8)
20 2000 Big 12 2 9 0 .182 -11.48 4.71

Nothing says Oklahoma like a decade of total disaster. "Baylor" is not a top 10 football "program".. They are the 4th best team in their league- at best

Yep, 4th best is about the same VT has been in the past 3 years in the ACC

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Didn't Baylor play Georgia in a NY6 bowl?

I mean, that's not nothing.

Didn't they go 3-9 2 years ago, and didn't the coach that took them to the NY6 bowl leave at the first chance? They are not a top 10 program under any metric. And like I said, nobody on earth or this board thought so until 48 hours ago.

Who is claiming that Baylor is a top 10 program?

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

That's over a decade ago...
I posted 2017 info.
Nobody is arguing that 2006 Baylor was irrelevant. But nobody is saying that they were A1 top tier in 2006 either. Bill Roth's comment was current...which my 2017 stat was leading into, potentially.

You could go back to the 83-92 era of Tech football and show how disgusting we were at that time as well. Means nothing today.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

3 years ago they were 3-9.. sandwiched by 2 stellar 7-5 seasons. Tremendous


You can look at a decade ago. You can look at several years ago. (And you can compare our last few seasons of 9-4, 6-7, 8-5 all without a bowl win or conf champ appearance.) Or you can look forward and the trajectory of the program. Which leads me a question...which program has the highest incline trajectory RIGHT NOW? The Top 10 quote is about the future...and what is capable starting now.

I'm not saying I agree, and the Top 10 is a little hyperbole imho, but potentially way better off than VT's path...

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
@BuryHokie #ThanksFrank

Baylor has finished in the top 15 five times since 2011. VT has finished in the top 15 zero times since 2011. They also have more 10 win seasons than us in that same span and a Heisman Trophy winner. To the average 18 year old, Baylor has been a bigger name program than VT since they were in the third grade. Just because we remember 95-2011 doesn't mean high school kids do. And not admitting that VT is falling behind the top 25 pack doesn't make it untrue.

Baylor is a top 15 program and we aren't. This isn't opinion, this is fact.

Like all of us - French has some good takes and bad takes. This is a bad take.

Our fanbase is way too dramatic about Fuente and the future. We return 20 starters and if Fuente wins the Coastal people will still be complaining. Beamer was consistent and built a program - he still never won a national title. Outside of 1999 - I saw some of the best VT teams ever in-person from 2004-2008 and honestly nothing about VT's resources, prestige, etc. has changed. We were ALWAYS the underdog and the fanbase embodied that vs. being entitled to "something more." I also watched Beamer drop many big games early in several of those elite seasons that left us fighting to regain national relevance vs. truly competing for a national title.

College football is cyclical. Alabama finished the season ranked 2-times between 2000 - 2007. Clemson was ranked 2-times between 1995-2004 during VT's major rise. Despite the recent success of those teams they'll lose it eventually. Teams like Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas, USC and others are all blue-blood programs that have fallen off but will build back up in time.

To me - Fuente and Whit look great because the focus is on what's next vs. what just happened. I'll support VT because I love the place and people without any concern for my "emotional investment." We aren't out on the field and VT winning a national championship would validate the coaches and players - not us.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

Here is my take. I've been behind Fuente since he took over. From what I've mostly seen, I have liked him. I've recognized that what he has had to accomplish was not easy in the least. I don't think that being so private is the greatest attribute to have as a head coach in major college football. Nonetheless, I've to this point accepted that about him and respected that aspect of his personality (especially being a private person myself). I've also acknowledged that he's a relatively young coach who is still learning so I've been patient. Nonetheless, this episode has left me shaken and his virtual silence has done nothing to alleviate my feelings. He should have stood before the media and answered questions. Our at least issue a statement. He owes Hokie nation that much. Instead we get a vague tweet and a telecon where Whit faces the music instead?

I've read that Baylor is 4 hours from where Fuente grew up. Combine that with an increased salary and I can see the allure of at least having a conversation with them. I don't see this as a knock on tech. It's not like he was talking to an East coast rival here. If I were in his shoes I would've been tempted to hear them out too. Why doesn't he just say this???

What he just did was risky. Particularly for the momentum of the program. He hasn't accomplished at tech what he set out to do. 2020 is set to be a validation of his plan. Follow that with a very good recruiting class and he really would have it rolling. Now I'm worried that he's not concerned about beyond 2020. That's what his actions and then silence seem to indicate. Because I do fear the perception now, and possibly the reality, is that he's not committed. Does he try to parlay a potentially successful 2020 into another job. If you were a recruit would you be hopping at the chance to jump into that? What if you're a current player who has hung in there with him through the lows? How would you feel? If he's interested in being here beyond 2020 then he just shot himself (and us) in the foot, particularly in terms of the recruiting trail. This spring, I'm going to be watching closely the number and quality of verbal commitments for 2021 and the what names on our roster head to the portal. If the recruiting momentum that appeared to be there before this episode continues and our roster mostly sticks (by today's standards) then I will feel better that they have repaired the potential damage. If not, then I fear his goal is go for broke in 2020 and then leave the cupboard bare for the next coach, ie Jimbo Fisher, Buzz Williams.

Another thought, maybe the transfer portal helps because now recruits don't have to feel they are limited after a coaching change. A commitment to a school isn't really a commitment anymore. As a recruit or current player, that's something that would make me feel better about the current situation.

Ignoring coaching abilities or anything to do with football, what Fuente did from a PR and political viewpoint was just plain stupid. Basic rule of engagement: never disclose you are disloyal or contemplating leaving until it is a done deal. By doing what Fuente did, he communicated the following:

1. He lacks confidence in VT, or is otherwise not pleased with resources, financials, or the hand he is being dealt.
2. He is not a good enough coach to get the Baylor job.

By doing what he did, he needlessly exposed fissures between himself and VT, and publicly exposed himself as being not good enough to win the job. Absolutely a lose-lose proposition.

Secondly, what he did is so stupid politically people will think: what level of common sense does he have?

Net result: VT looks bad, he looks bad as a coach, and also appears to be a political dimwit. Not smart

See: this

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Is there a working link there?

Didn't work for me.

You realize he didn't announce that he was considering leaving right? It was leaked, by who we'll likely never know, but almost certainly not by Fuente, so saying he is a political dimwit is hilariously off-base. And while I'm sure we would have liked him to never have talked to them at all, at the end of the day a program close to home offering more money wanted to discuss him as a possibility. Coaches do this literally all the time. In fact, Rhule did it this offseason while at Baylor. If you're waiting for a coach so loyal that they don't even entertain or consider competing offers, you probably are waiting on a bad coach nobody wants.

I don't care that he interviewed for another job. Let's clear that up.

My issue is simply that, if he did it as a power play (which is the narrative being pushed) for resources, he was ham-handed in his approach. It is also an acknowledgement that he can't make those changes himself through force of personality, which has been a pre-requisite for middling programs to step up.

Everyone involved, from the administration to Fuente, has a hand in how this damaged the perception of VT. Some folks want to think this will cause the program to turn the corner. For me, it is an indication that, there will be a begrudging increase in support, but revenue won't increase and the increase in support won't translate to enough wins to change the perception and fundraising dynamics.

The lack of engagement with the fanbase following this episode is telling and damning. I don't want an apology. What I want is a clear vision for making the program better and more accessible. What are you (Fuente or Whit) going to do to make me, as a donor, as a ticket buyer, care more?

Everything that has happened since the Teerlick announcement has trended badly. The readers of this site knows that I was high on this hire. I am also a prideful person. It takes a lot for me to suggest that I made a mistake. When I tell you that I have a bad feeling this isn't going to work, it isn't without cause. Lip service isn't action, and I don't see a commitment to action which makes me feel like VT is going to be the dominant team in the Coastal, and that is the bare minimum acceptable standard here.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

100% agree with all of this. I was just saying the root problems existed independently of the Baylor episode; those concerns and frustrations were around before and are around after. I guess the whole thing does push those concerns back into the limelight after the relative optimism of a new coaching staff though, and that's the last thing you need when trying to drum up financial support and interest throughout the offseason.