Athlon: College Football Hot Seat Watch: Intrigue Surrounds Several ACC Coaches

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Fuente Excerpt:

Virginia Tech: Fuente's win over North Carolina cooled what was the league's hottest seat entering 2021, but Saturday's offensive malaise vs. West Virginia (the Hokies failed to turn an interception into a touchdown with goal-to-go in the fourth quarter) reminded Virginia Tech fans about the lingering problems with their program.

The Hokies have a gimme game vs. FCS Richmond, a bye, and then Notre Dame โ€” nothing in that stretch would create a referendum on Fuente (save for loss to Richmond), but Pitt will be a huge swing game for both programs. The Hokies are far from their 1990s and '00s mystique, and with Fuente's botched attempt to flee to Baylor, this marriage has grown very strained.

Much like Louisville, Tech is a job with many interested parties waiting in the wings. The value above replacement between Fuente and potentially available candidates seems to favor Tech if it makes a change.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I would love to know who the "many interested parties waiting" are.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Napier allegedly covets the job

I could live with giving Napier the job, he certainly has the pedigree.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, Former Naval Aviator, Former FBISA, Forever married to my VT87 girl. Go VT!

I would definitely prefer Napier over Clawson

Free Hugh

Nah Clawson has ACC experience and has turned a struggling wake forest program into a consistent winner.


I don't think his ceiling is higher than Fuentes

Free Hugh

I think both have a similar ceiling, just that Clawson has to deal with Clemson inside his division and Fuente doesn't.

Put Wake in the Coastal, and they probably outperform us.

I will not donate to Virginia Tech Athletics as long as Justin Fuente is the head coach of VT Football. Enough is enough.

Strong disagree. I think the coastal is much tougher than the Atlantic outside of only Clemson

Go for it

This year, I think Wake and Clemson are better than any Coastal team.

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NC State is probably better than half the Coastal too. And Boston College can't be taken lightly either. I think the Coastal is worse off than the Atlantic, even if they do have Cuse


They got mollywhopped by Miss State

Free Hugh

Miss State would mollywhop every team in the Coastal. What's your point?


You're more bullish on Wake than I am, and I think by the end of the season UNC will be a much better version of its current form.

I hope you're right enough about Wake that they are good enough to beat Clemson. That would be awesome to have them completely eliminated from CFP possibilities. They don't deserve it at all, but they are on track to get basically 12 weeks to "get-right" when if they had to play an Ole Miss or Florida last week they would have 2 losses already.

It's widely believed that Napier is holding out for a big time SEC job, as in, he has already turned down multiple SEC job offers.

He is seen as much more desirable than Clawson.

I think Clawson is a high floor, developmental program type guy for sure, but I don't think he aligns with the ceiling/high end product we covet at VT.

I don't understand the love for Clawson on this board. He would be a meh hire in my opinion. If we are going to shit can Fu let's get somebody good.

"Give me a fuยขking beer", Anonymous Genius

I don't understand the love for Clawson on this board.

  • He's won a conference championship at almost every school he's coached at (except Wake)
  • He's the second winningest coach in the history of Wake (Arguably the toughest job in the P5) and the only coach in Wake history to have 4 straight winning seasons
  • His version of the read option (which features the 'extended' meshpoint) is actually really innovative/effective

He's won at tough places to win by using an innovative scheme and playing disciplined football. His teams have a clear identity. This is everything VT isn't right now.

I wouldn't call Clawson a home run hire, but I could get excited about it depending on the assistants/staff.

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I would view hiring Clawson somewhat as a similarity to Dan Mullen going from Miss St to UF. He's a great x's and o's head coach, coached up his players and squeezed out talent at a lesser power 5 school and was able to win. Obviously different personalities and mullen used to be the OC at UF but overall I would like the hire.

Another comparison could maybe be James Franklin when he was at Vandy. Never did anything special at vandy but you could see he was developing guys and turned a lowly power 5 school known for academics into a consistent 7-5, 8-4 squad. I would consider both James Franklin and Dan Mullen very good hires at their respective schools and would be extremely happy to have what they've done at their schools here at VT.

The Dan Mullen analogy is a good one. He was UF's 3rd choice. Regarded as a solid hire, but not a splash.

I disagree with James Franklin - what he did at Vandy was one of the most impressive college football coaching feats of the last 50 years. The last time Vandy won 9 games was in 1915, and Franklin did it TWICE. When Franklin left Vandy, he had gotten them to 3 straight bowl games. Prior to that, the program had gone to 4 total bowl games.

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Clawason is a good coach. Is he the right coach for VT? Who knows. But he's a damn good coach.

If Whit were to hire him it would be viewed as a Mike Young type of hire.

Is coronavirus over yet?

Which one can recruit better? Which one can assemble a staff that can win on the recruiting trail? I'll favor that one every day. Just my 2 cents.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

Recruiting prowess should be way down the list of qualities VT should ever look for in a head coach. Yes, some coaches are better than others. But it almost never results in a significant change in recruiting for a school - up or down.

When one of the top lines in the press release for a new hire talks about improved recruiting or ties to the state/region, it's amazing how often it doesn't result in improved performance on the recruiting trail and on the field.

I concur.

Dave Wannstedt was thought to be a grear recruiter. Look at how that didn't turn into success during his time at Pitt.

but Pitt will be a huge swing game for both programs.

Pitt maybe the most important game left this season.

I like Steven Godfrey's work in general, and I've heard him say before that VT is a tougher job than some folks think but it's also a desirable one because there are resources and a passionate fanbase.

The best option at this point is we have a good year, Fuente gets hired by Nebraska/Texas Tech/TCU and we all go our separate ways

The best option at this point is we have a good year, Fuente gets hired by Nebraska/Texas Tech/TCU and we all go our separate ways

I don't see Fuente leaving on his own will this season. The schools that are lateral moves or a jump up (Nebraska, TCU, Baylor, etc) aren't going to hire someone who's ceiling is 10 wins once every 5ish years. I don't think he jumps for a step backwards (like TTU, Houston, etc).

Either we fire him, or he's staying. Maybe he stays but also makes some changes to the staff.

The only way he leaves in his own will is if a program that he is interested in gets stuck in a pickle, and is forced to hire their 10th choice for HC.

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He is not staying in Blacksburg for very long, especially if he wins 10+ games this season and next.

Keep an eye on Gary Patterson and TCU. They are perfectly happy to have 8 win seasons, and the occasional run at the title. Fuente would fit right in.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

As I said above (with added emphasis this time):

I don't see Fuente leaving on his own will this season.

Winning 10 games two seasons in a row would be a pretty big accomplishment, and could completely change the national discourse around Fuente. That said, I see nothing to suggest that back-to-back 10 win seasons is a likely result for this program, under this coaching staff.

Keep an eye on Gary Patterson and TCU. They are perfectly happy to have 8 win seasons, and the occasional run at the title. Fuente would fit right in.

Assuming Fuente wins 8 games this season (quite likely), that basically shows that 8 wins is the ceiling, not the floor, for his teams. No P5 fanbase in the country - not even Kansas - wants to hire a coach who's ceiling was 8 wins per year while playing in the ACC Coastal.

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How would winning 8 games this year show that 8 wins is Fuente's ceiling?

Particularly as he's already had a 10 win season and a 9 win season.

I think 10 wins is Fuente's ceiling when he's playing with house money (other coach's recruits). When he's playing with the recruits he brings in himself 8 wins is probably closer to his actual ceiling


let me rephrase it then. I think his ceiling, with his recruits, in the P5, is 8 wins.


I was thinking from the vantage point of the AD hiring Fuente. When you make a new hire, you need to sell hope to your fanbase. What fanbase is going to be hopeful about a coach who's last four seasons in the ACC Coastal were 6-7, 8-5, 5-6, 8-5? No P5 fanbase is buying that, unless it's the best option they have. Most ADs will opt for someone with more upside, even if it means there are more unknowns around the hire.

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This is why I shy away from using win totals to assess coaching quality because it varies so much based on the situation.

If those four seasons happen in the ACC Coastal, you get exactly what we've been going through with much of the fanbase losing faith in the HC.

If those four seasons happen at a Mississippi school or Arkansas in the SEC West, that coach is probably a candidate to move to a better P5 program.

Win totals are based primarily on your competition level, which varies dramatically from division to division and conference to conference in this sport.

Because those two seasons were with Beamer's recruits.

Those don't count. Last year was Year Zero. Whit said so.

My goodness, if Fu goes to Nebraska...the offense will then be Corn's Huskers.

Thank you for the much needed laugh.


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

aw, Shucks

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Braxton Burmeister, Ryan Willis, Josh Jackson, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

It's aMaizeing, isn't it?

I'll lend my EAR to this subthread to see what we can COBble together

There's a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Just wanted to POP my head in here and see what is going on with Corn.

#MakeTheMove . . . "Vick, dashing back . . . here he comes again . . . Electrifying . . . and have you ever seen anything like this?"

Also, please don't confuse me with the typical stalkers.

#MakeTheMove . . . "Vick, dashing back . . . here he comes again . . . Electrifying . . . and have you ever seen anything like this?"

Happy to make this one Plaid!

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

Tech has resources? Don't tell that to Fu

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

The value above replacement between Fuente and potentially available candidates seems to favor Tech if it makes a change.

I'm not 100% sold on this. Personally I am on the fence about firing Fuente, and I know a lot of you are all in on getting rid him this year. I guess my main concern is if we become a Nebraska or Tennessee, and end up worse off for the next 10+ years with multiple coaches or just become awful like Nebraska. I really don't know the answer. I guess if we do get rid of him this year then we will find out.

Agree with you 100%. If that's his take, I'd love for him to proceed with his thoughts because he must be hearing things from potential replacements that are very well kept secrets. I tend to think it's more so the other way around. I have zero interest in going through a coaching carousel just for the sake of making a move.

Having a conversation with you is like a Martian talking to a Fungo. fire Cornelson


I think if the old saying "Be careful what you wish for" was ever applicable, it's now with VT.

When Steven Godfrey writes/says this I believe it. Perhaps I'd have the same apprehension if it was someone else.

Anyone care to guess who he's talking about?

This excerpt scared me a bit

Freeze is perpetually active behind the scenes in the coaching market, as he's determined to create a second act at a Power 5 program after his fall from grace at Ole Miss. If any of these ACC jobs open, expect his name to magically emerge, and quickly.

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

โญโญโญโญโญโญ #YNWA

if you can't beat em, join em

The Dude Abides

I would looooove for Freeze to come here. I know 99% of you guys care about morals and I will be looked down on for this, but literally the only thing I care about for our football team is winning.

Free Hugh

I vehemently disagree. The football program is the most visible public face of our school and I could never support VT hiring a coach that's shown himself to be deceitful and willing to break NCAA regulations and state/federal laws.

The following quote is an excerpt from a Yahoo sports article from 2018 about Freeze's exit from Ole Miss and hire at Liberty:

Freeze was concerned that the depth of the violations and the pending sanctions would get out publicly. If that happened, some of his players might have transferred so they could avoid playing for a school that was about to get hit with postseason bans and likely struggle to win many games.

It might also have caused members of the Rebels recruiting class to switch to other schools before they signed binding letters of intent. If they knew the truth, Freeze understood, everyone would do what is best for them and some would go elsewhere.

So Hugh Freeze did what was best for him and what was worst for those "student-athletes": Ole Miss orchestrated a misinformation campaign, by supplying media with off-the-record lies so they'd write and broadcast inaccurate stories that Ole Miss wasn't going to receive major sanctions, in part, because most of the violations occurred under former coach, Houston Nutt.

This was not true. Hugh Freeze knew it.

The goal was to trick his players, his recruits and all their families and high school coaches and everyone else who once believed in him, at least until the truth came out later and it was too late and they were stuck with him.

Later, when the NCAA report became public and it was clear Ole Miss lied, Nutt asked for an apology. His reputation had been trashed, after all. Freeze wouldn't give him one. Instead, Freeze claimed persecution and declared himself the victim.

That caused Nutt's lawyer to go all in and eventually use Freeze's phone records to show he was calling hookers, which cost Freeze his job. A simple apology and he's probably still in Oxford and no one knows about his side life. Irony.

But that's an aside. Back to the "student-athletes."

What Hugh Freeze did was deceive them. Fool them. Con them. Cheat them. Not cheat some questionable rulebook, but cheat all the guys who trusted him, worked hard for him and won him all those games and all those millions of dollars. He denied those guys the information that they deserved so they could make the best decision for their brief careers and NFL dreams.

He sat in the living rooms of recruits and did the same thing. Sat across from moms and dads and uncles and siblings and entrapped them in a fraudulent deal. Come to Ole Miss, it'll be fine. He just wanted them signed, because once they signed, then leaving would be hard. They'd be stuck. He did this day after day; recruiting visit after recruiting visit."

Winning more games in a given year is not worth losing our self-respect and reputation as a (relative to college football) clean program. If the values engraved on the Pylons (Specifically Honor, Duty, Ut Prosim) mean a damn to VT, Freeze will not ever walk into Lane stadium in Orange and Maroon.

Like I said. Most people are going to share your position. I honestly don't care. I just want football to win.

Free Hugh

Freeze is an upgrade, and can win at tech.

Freeze is garbage and not a good cultural fit for Tech. No way Whit touches him.

It's Time to go to Work

Recruiting for Freeze at the P5 level is going to be an issue for him after the sanctions and that article. Other schools will bombard kids and parents with that information wherever he does end up. It's not an issue he really has to deal with at Liberty where he was no recruiting pressure or competition. I think it's a big reason you haven't seen him at another school already.

Gobble Till You Wobble

The harm to the program from dirty dealing would take decades to correct. Beamer received the long leash because of Dooley's mess. It was the relatively clean Beamer program that brought the success we'd all like to experience again or for the first time.

...with spirits true and faithful...

The harm to the program from dirty dealing would take decades to correct.

I agree with this. I also believe that the harm to the program from inaction would take decades to correct. Fuente has made it very clear in his 6 years that he is not the right guy for the VT job. I don't know exactly who the right guy is but I think Whit knows that if we don't move on from Fuente soon we'll miss our opportunity to recapture a stranglehold on the ACC Coastal.


My rules for a coach are "don't embarrass me" as a fan. There's two ways you can embarrass me:

  1. Enable and/or fail to address systematic legal issues (especially when the victims are being sexually assaulted, a la Baylor, PSU, LSU, Tennessee)
  2. Be a hypocrite and get publicly called out on your shit.

Hugh Freeze fails on both here. First of all, agreeing to work with individuals closely associated with the Baylor Fiasco violates my first rule. Furthermore, Liberty is also tied to a fair share of ethical issues. His willingness to work with these individuals and that university shows me that he will win at all costs - regardless of how many students are sexually abused or otherwise disenfranchised in the process.

Secondly - Freeze is the worst type of hypocrite. I don't care if you cheat on your wife (hell, look at Beamer's staff) and I don't care if you pay players (not really an issue these days, but I never cared), but don't be like Hugh Freeze. Don't preach the gospel (literally) then get caught paying for extramarital sex. When someone accuses you of paying players, please don't respond by doing this.

Finally - and I cannot emphasize this enough - Freeze is just plain stupid. If you're going to cheat on your wife, pay players, or do any other shady activity USE A FUCKING BURNER PHONE. Do not - under any circumstance - USE YOUR PHONE THAT WAS PROVIDED BY PUBLIC ENTITY THAT IS SUBJECT TO FIOA REQUEST!!! Especially when there is an active lawsuit going on between your current employer (who, I will remind you again, is a public university) and your predecessor. And, when the legal gods shine their light upon you, and grant you the opportunity to redact any (potentially incriminating) personal calls made from your work phone, FUCKING DO IT!!!

I cannot comprehend how fucking stupid do you have to be to:

  1. **Knowingly** use public university property to do unethical things that could cost you your job
  2. Continue to use said device despite knowing that, due to an ongoing investigation, essentially all communication within your department is being audited
  3. Choose to NOT erase evidence of that wrong doing when literally ASKED TO DO SO

TL;DR - I vote NO to Hugh Freeze because he's a dumbass who will inevitably embarrass the university, community, and football team that I love.

Edit: a word

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I respect your opinion

Free Hugh

I agree with you, but there are limits to that, and Hugh Freeze is way past them.


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Become Nebraska or UT? Let's take a look in the mirror for a second here. How many years of this until we hit their category? The way I see it we are letting Fuente ground the ship and saying yep that giant mountain on the horizon was land after all.

I am all for letting someone try and turn it around because the end result will be the same if they fail.

I'd also like to become one of those schools... each with something to brag about. We don't have shit.

I'd rather have a future than a past.

I agree. However at this time it appears only those with a past will have any significant future. Aka the regular blue bloods.

True. Same as it ever was.

NIL is about to make it exponentially worse

The Dude Abides

I would love to have Tennesse or Nebraskas record, having actually won a MNC to have a trophy to put in the case would be very nice

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
โ€œI served in the United States Navy"


VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

But we can't fire 6-6 fuente for fear we may suck lol.

Mental pretzel for me!

Uh, we could 2-10 suck. Not saying we should keep Fuente just because it's a risk of sucking worse, people need to accept it won't automatically be better is all.

People like to pretend that there is no risk because that would justify their opinion.

It's Time to go to Work

Apply it to literally any other business. Don't put that job posting out to replace an at best average performer because the guy you hire may be worse. That premise gets laughed out of every other business.

I don't know what your business is, but with the exception of a few fields, people generally don't get fired for average performance.

Firing people is harder than hiring people.

The exception, of course, is when they make $4 million a year.

Fair, but any business that is afraid of upgrading its talent because the current talent is "OK" is ultimately a failing business.

Making a coaching change isn't necessarily a guarantee of an upgrade, and although you may see some immediate indicators, you don't really know if it was a good change for years. In the mean time, you likely goof up your immediate recruiting class/classes. So you have to weigh that against all the immediate indicators.

This logic indicates you never change coaches. And I would argue in VT's case, the recruiting trend the last 5 years won't be any "worse" with a coaching change. The portal also mitigates that risk a bit. Yeah the bottom could drop out of what will be around a 28th ranked class, but is that really a big deal at this point? I'd say no. with our roster a 45th ranked class vs. 28th is not a huge deal in the long run in terms of where we are.

So, there is some interesting data on this. Unfortunately it sits behind an academic paywall, but anybody currently on campus should be able to access it.

A group of researchers looked at coaching changes from 1997 to 2010 and tracked the performance of teams once the change was made and compared it to previous performance.

Link to study:

There are 2 major conclusions in the publicly available abstract:

  1. Poorly performing teams got a short-term boost from replacing a coach, but typically reverted back to their previous poor performance level.
  2. Mediocre teams that replaced a coach performed worse in subsequent years than similar teams that retained their coach.

I'm not attempting to use this to argue that Fuente should stay as coach, but rather that, in general, the decision to replace a coach is full of risk, usually works out poorly and requires a great deal of planning, foresight and luck to beat the odds. Maybe we have a team in place that can. Whit showed a lot of these characteristics when selecting Mike Young as coach, so there is a data point to say he can get it right. But, this study states that that it is challenging to get that decision correct, and most people don't.

Get Angry, Bud!

I imagine part of this equation is targeting and pay of the new coach. There are plenty of coaches out there that may be a slight upgrade (a 6 win team hires an 8 win a year HC) and not have to break the bank. Teams that have tanked may also be happy to hire someone with 8 wins they think might be able to get even more out of the team (maybe if their school has a good recruiting history). But then there's what everyone would like to have - a proven commodity with 10+ wins a season. But guess what - since everyone wants that, there's a lot of demand, and correspondingly much higher pay. So the question becomes - is the school willing to pay for that? If not, that forces you into the last category - finding an up-and-coming coach, which is much more of a high-risk, high-reward situation, where you may be able to get someone who can do great things for your program. But there is a LOT of uncertainty there. I mean, a team might be able to scoop up someone who was one of those hires that has been successful in a few years in a P5 program, but demand would also be high on those guys. So you have to take a chance on someone like we did with Fuente and hope they can continue winning. But the risk is there, like we've seen, that you can get an average result. It's also possible that they could bomb, and that is the real big risk. If we fired Fuente and had to pay his buyout, then hire someone who bombs, we most likely couldn't get rid of them for who knows how long while we were still trying to pay off Fuente's buyout. Does that mean you keep Fuente around until his buyout is low enough that we could get rid of a potential future disaster, or take the risk of that happening, hoping that donors might pony up the dough to get rid of someone like that, and take a shot at another up-and-coming coach?

And maybe that's what drove Whit's decision last year, the likelihood of an equal or worse result is high enough (money to pay for a more likely success either wasn't there or would go towards Fuent's buyout) that it just makes more (painful) sense to keep Fuente until he leaves of his own accord (gets hired somewhere else), does poorly enough where donors pay more for a buyout, or wait until the buyout is low enough to aim higher (or be able to get rid of someone who goes 2-10 in years 1 and 2). Unfortunately, we'll never know.

This is a single study and should be viewed as exploratory. I "read" through some of the methods and conclusions since I have access. Basically the study summarizes what we can already assume, if you suck ass a la not winning anything not much ever changes. The top teams that win and change coaches often will still win. This is because there are so few coaches and locations with built infrastructure necessary to win. Suffice to say don't ever expect to hire a coach to take you to the NC if you have never been before.

The difference between 2-10 and 6-6 for me is negligible. Neither is a national competitive program and probably results in me turning off games halfway through

Free Hugh

To quote the great philosopher Ryan Willis: "Scared money don't make money". Keeping Fuente out of fear of hiring a worse replacement is a great way to promote mediocrity. He's had 6 years which is longer than most programs would have given him, especially after losses to ODU and Liberty. VT is still a desirable job. Fan support is good and competent coach can rack up a lot of wins in the ACC.

On the other hand, loose money tends to lose money.

We need to find something in the middle.

What's the coaching hire equivalent of 5 turnovers against BC?

Maybe Les Miles at Kansas

I'm not even sure you have to go that dark to get into that territory. Frost at Nebraska gives me some serious 5 turnovers vibes.

Is it just me or does it seem "playing not to lose" is okay when it comes to coaching decisions, but not okay when it comes to plays on the field.

Good point, hanging on to a guy you know isn't a good fit for fear that the next guy will be even worse is no different psychologically than taking a knee at the 45 before Halftime.

Could we fire Fuente and end up with an even less successful coach? Sure, but look at how much flack we gave the Hoos for keeping a lameduck London around for and extra year and a half.

A new coaching hire is never a sure thing...I thought both Tom Herman and Frost were going to be Homeruns (honestly still think Herman will find success elsewhere), but clearly things did not work out.

It's year 6 (no matter what our AD says) and the same issues continue to plague us. There is no sign at all that Fuente plans to make changes to the Offense (or even accepts that there is a problem) and attrition has left us without a functional 2 Deep along the DL or OL. We can't even run the bread and butter of our Running game because we have to keep our only remaining game-ready QB from getting hurt.

It doesn't work, it's not sustainable and its time to move on, even if the future is far from certain.

Frost was good at UCF. Cool. What about that says success at a power 5 school especially one like Nebraska?

I think you hit the nail on the head. G5 to P5 is a significant jump.

You're ignoring his recruiting and coach success as WR Coach and OC at Oregon. Frost's system relies on speed at the WR position, and he hasn't been able to recruit those types of players to Nebraska.

It will be very interesting to see if Herman/Frost get second chances as HCs at the P5 level, and how they do.

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If I was Whit and decided to pull the trigger on firing Fuente I believe I would have both Herman and Frost on my list to interview.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

What AD is going to hire them immediately after getting run out of town? Both coaches have red flags when it comes program culture and the on field performance was/is atrocious. I can't think of an example where someone has hired a loser from another P5 job and it has worked out. The list of times it has been a disaster is substantial.

It's Time to go to Work

I will admit my comment was a lazy one. I had not taken the time to read up on any dirt on either. I had not kept up. Did a little googling and you have made me hit the pause button on my comment.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

The part about Narduzzi whining about MAC officials was worth a chuckle

Very on brand. In some ways its incredible that someone can be that big of an ass AND suck at his job for so long. Usually you only need to do one or the other to get fired.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Pitt had a rough stretch a few years back after they fired Dave Wannstedt that I think has made them very adverse to firing coaches.

I think the first guy they hired they had to fire a week or two later because he was arrested, then Todd Graham was probably as big of an ass as Narduzzi. Paul Chryst would've been a pretty good fit, but he was always going to Wisconsin if he could. Basically, I thinks they're very ok going 7-5 and playing in the Motor City Bowl

This article is a friendly reminder the ACC is back to the bottom of the P5. Ugh.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

Is it though? There number of AP ranked teams with a loss this year is the highest it's been since the 1930's. That's been the case for two weeks in a row. It's just going to be a weird year.

I'm all for another 2007 type season, but I hate we're in the crummy conference, which only reminds me that Weaver said no to the SEC. ๐Ÿ˜ฉ Just pisses me off. What a missed opportunity.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

At the time, we were top dog in the ACC but would have been a medium level contender in the SEC.

Weaver may have feared being irrelevant in the SEC and while I understand that fear I have not ever meet a successful pessimist. I believe the idea, that others have espoused, that we would have gotten steam rolled in the SEC is a pessimistic take.

While it was nice to be top of the ACC, from a football only perspective the SEC would have been an attractive offer even if we did drop initially to the middle of the SEC pack. Bear in mind that we would have likely been placed in the SEC East which at that time was not a juggernaut by any means. We may have fared pretty well and would have certainly benefited from a recruiting uptick IMO.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

I have thought about this over the years since Weaver and company said no. I have come to the conclusion that I would rather lose to Georgia and Alabama most years than beat Wake and Duke most years. Plus iron sharpens iron. We would have gotten better in the SEC. We would have landed many more VA 4 stars.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

You (and others I'm sure) say that now. But I'd bet while the complaints would be different, they would be no less voluminous.

I do say it now and (you will have to take my word on this) I said it then as well.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

My top choices would be in order
Dave Clawson- Consistent winner has a knack for finding talent
Billy Napier- An up and coming guy who has alot of potential
Brent Vennbales- A great recruiter and a great coach just lacks experience
Hugh Freeze- Proven winner just lacks morals and I dont want that at tech


I'm a bit miffed about staff changes after seeing JHam's defense the first 3 games. Does this become another situation where Whit has to ask the new coach to keep the defensive staff together? It's also clear the defensive staff comprised of mostly former players is doing much better than a group of outsiders on the offense (although Lechtenberg and Vice I like a lot). This includes our recruiting efforts this year being far and away better than the previous 2 seasons with former players managing the recruiting.

At that point, if we do decide to move on from Fuente or he leaves on his own, I'd give JHam a shot with an interim tag, and let him earn it.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I'm a bit miffed about staff changes after seeing JHam's defense the first 3 games. Does this become another situation where Whit has to ask the new coach to keep the defensive staff together?

No - Bud Foster was a long tenured coach who, over a 25 year career, had MULTIPLE #1 Defenses, and more defenses inside the top 15 than outside.

You can't compare the two situations.

Twitter me

Agree that you can't ask a new HC to keep Hamilton, but it wouldn't be unheard-of for a new coach to interview him abs keep him, but that's a fairy tale scenario, and highly unlikely.

I think it depends on how the defense does over the course of the year. If JHam can put together a top 20 defense in his second year as defensive coordinator, unless the new HC had someone like Foster (doubtful), how would you NOT at least take a look at him, especially for what we're paying him. But that's all irrelevant if he can't keep up the really good performances.

At that point, if we do decide to move on from Fuente or he leaves on his own, I'd give JHam a shot with an interim tag, and let him earn it.

The only drawback to this is that, I think, if he doesn't earn the head whistle job, then we'd most likely lose him as DC. It's not often that you see an interim head coach return to his old position under a new head coach.

It looks like he's starting to come into his own as a DC, but by promoting him, even as interim, we may just lose out on the next Bud Foster. That's my concern.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

It looks like he's starting to come into his own as a DC, but by promoting him, even as interim, we may just lose out on the next Bud Foster. That's my concern.

This right here is where I'm at. JHam is building something special. I'm more concerned he'll leave for a better opportunity than to stay with Fu. That could be Fu's death knell. If we go 8 wins, or 7, and Fu somehow stays, he's gotta reward the coaches who are doing well, and can Corn back to the shelf at Food Lion.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

All good coaches and all better than I am at their jobs but nobody on this list excites me and won't excite the fan base. IMO.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

If Venables doesnt excite you I think you might want to adjust your expectations so you arent dissapointed, to me that would be a hell of a pull if we landed him.

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

I think Venables is overrated. Now I'm not saying he's a bad coach. I think he's a good coach. I just think that he has been helped out a lot by an embarrassment of riches talent-wise. I'm also not sure how he would translate to a HC job. He may be really good at the defensive Xs and Os and he is obviously super hype but would he be a good manager? Hard to say. Whoever hires him as a HC is taking a pretty significant risk IMO. I don't think it is unreasonable not to be too excited about him.


I think he is a tad overrated as well, and I don't think the in your face rah rah shit would work with today's players as a head coach. You need a calm leader and today's athlete doesn't want to be coached as "hard" IMO. ND told Brian Kelly to tone it down if he wanted to keep his job 5 years ago. I see Venables that same way.

I agree that of that short list Venables is the most exciting, however just don't know if I would want to go with a defensive guy as next head whistle. I believe I prefer a coach with a primary offensive background.

Now if someone can tell me that Venables is an ace recruiter then my mind may change. I don't keep up with recruiting enough to know his acumen there.

BTW you have my favorite signature. I laugh nearly every time I read it.

To be the man you gotta beat the man!

I guess my reasoning for thinking he would fit this team is techs identity has always been about really good gritty in your face defense and if he could make us even better defensively and find a solid OC I'd be pretty happy with it. Full disclosure im a glass half full kind of fan so I tend to find the positives and stick to them but thats just me.

On the signature I've been meaning to get it made into a bumper sticker but never gotten around to it yet I'd love to get a big decal of it on the bumper just to make some boohoos cry a bit.

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

Friendly thought exercise for the group, like a pick 6. Just thinking of the classic baseball "I'll take your problem for my problem" trade where both are undesirable but you hope a change of scenery can make a difference.

Ignoring contract implications (Tech would get to bring any of the below coaches in under the exact same contract Fuente has now and the other team would get Fuente under the same contract that their current coach has), which, if any, of these trades would people make now?

Trade Fuente to:

Florida State for Norvell
Liberty for Freeze (a dirty problem, not an on-field one here)
Miami for Diaz
Nebraska for Frost
North Carolina for Brown knowing full well he will retire soon and it is just to bring in someone who will bring in good recruiters
Pitt for Narduzzi (I had to add an obvious, hell no choice)

Thought about adding Virginia for Bronco, but Yankees and Red Sox would never trade.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Thought about adding Virginia for Bronco, but Yankees and Red Sox would never trade.

I have Babe Ruth on line 1

Ha! ha! Good point.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

Never heard of this concept and don't get it at all. I mean it is a great big world out there and I suppose somewhere there are or were people who traded manure, but I just don't see the point of even thinking about it.

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

I'd take Freeze (for the football success only). Brown would be a good trade for us. He doesn't have much left in the tank but he'd bring in great recruiters and promising coaching talents and we could set up a coach-in-waiting scenario. I don't think Frost is working out in Nebraska because of Nebraska problems, not Frost problems. I'd entertain that trade. I would not trade for Norvell or Diaz. I hate Narduzzi so much but at least his teams have an offensive identity. That's more than Fuente can say. Same can be said of Bronco. If you held a gun to my head and asked me to rank these coaches in order I think it'd go like this:



Fuente is 4-1 against Bronco, 2-1 against Mack, and 3-2 against Narduzzi. There are definitely coaching upgrades out there but I really think all these guys are right in line with each other.

Gobble Till You Wobble

trends and identity are different though. I bet over the next 4 years those winning percentages would level off


Mac will probably level off. Narduzzi and Bronco - I think they are what they are at this point.

For every time a Pitt team pushes VT around, there's also a time they get shutout or don't score on a 1st and goal from the one to win the game

The only one of those trades I would consider is Norvell, but due the state of FSU, it's going to take another 2-3 seasons before we know if he can coach at the P5 level.

  • Hugh Freeze - see my comment above
  • Frost's who system depends on speed, which is hard to recruit in Nebraska. If he can't get Oregon/Florida speed to Nebraska, I'm not sure he can get it to VT.
  • Narduzzi is your stereotypical dumbass DC who knowingly refuses to see the forest through the trees.
  • Mack Brown feels uninspired. Best case he gets a few 5-stars and maybe ten 4-stars here, then leaves... then they may all go in the transfer portal?
  • Bronco is not unlike Narduzzi, but way less of a dick. The man is playing for 8 wins. I'd rather fail shooting for 10+ wins then agree to 8 before the season starts.

Twitter me

If Fuente was Babcock's hand picked guy and Babcock has to fire him are you comfortable with Babcock hiring the next coach? Just a thought.

I am. If you look at what Whit has done more broadly he's done a pretty phenomenal job with hiring. Sports across the entire department are better than they were when he arrived (aside from football). Fuente was regarded widely as a great hire at the time too. He's allowed to make mistakes. This one was costly because football is king but I have faith in Whit to hire another great candidate. Fuente was a great candidate at the time but it hasn't worked out. Whit's track record is pretty good, overall.


I threw the thought out to see how others were thinking. I agree that Babcock has done a good job leading Tech's athletic department.

Also Fuente will have been a great lesson learned in that you don't give an extension too early in the new coaches career.

Or if you do something like that, you tie it to continued performance metrics.

I think if Fuente gets an extension after this year (assuming 8+ wins and a new OC), it is similar to Harbaugh's where the buyout goes away and performance metrics are added in.

yes, because fuente was considered to be a home run hire at the time. other coaches he has selected have worked out

also, whit just got an extension. unless he leaves on his own he is going to pick the next football coach whether that be this year, next year or 2025

Whit's job is not to win football games. It's to make money. He is killing it right now and most of his hires have been outstanding. He knows how to run an athletic department. Just clarifying, his job is not at risk. He will fire Fuente in a second if it looks otherwise.

We put the K in Kwality

Half the people on here think he wanted to but was handcuffed from doing it

Free Hugh

I'm curious what the other half believes, because there's no other logical explanation for his bizzare end of year presser / behavior.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Obviously Whit genuinely believes that Fuente is now in year 2 as a head coach. /s

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Absolutely. I still think canning Corn would do Fuente a lot of good at VT. He has improved the football program in other ways off the field that don't get seen on Saturdays. I think Whit just needs to have a heart to heart with Fuente and let him know it's ok to move on from Cornelson.

I think Whit just needs to have a heart to heart with Fuente and let him know it's ok to move on from Cornelson

Unless there is some miracle turnaround with the offense I think the conversation needs to be more direct and more like an ultimatum. If you can't see the issues and wont take the steps to correct it, then *you*, Justin, are the real problem and you need to go.

You know who I would hire? Mike Young. Good culture fit, knows how to create a great staff, experience at the P5 level, and won't need to pay relocation expenses.

We could make him the Revenue Sport Commander-in-Chief. Just have him be around the football program to motivate the players and kiss babies. Then he can mentor Webbie on the basketball side a little more hands on. Would probably get us a couple segments on sportscenter at least

charles huff from marshall, let's cook

This thread is moot because we are a BB / swimming / SB school now!

Even when you get skunked; fishing never lets you down. ๐ŸŽฃ

I mean I'm very happy for Arians but I dont think him winning the Super Bowl makes us a SB school /s

Plus we are also a FuรŸball school!


I know it's too early to be thinking about the next head coach - eventually VT will be hiring another coach - would it make sense to shop around in the NFL? Maybe grab a coordinator?


It's tough because it's such a different animal. NFL you are leading grown men at their job, trying to win and help them get their next contract. College you have to convince 15, 16, 16 year olds to buy into your system. You are hand holding through problems. Some guys are successful at both, but it's completely different.

There have been some spectacular failures of coordinators going to college programs. I would be very reluctant to take an NFL coordinator unless he had college HC experience or significant and successful college coordinator experience.

Let's say that coordinator were Kellen would he be received? Young coach, successful offensive play caller...just saying...also saying, it'll never happen.

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

Most people here in Dallas (who are known be be delusional when it comes to the Cowboys) seem to think that they will lose Kellen Moore to another NFL head coaching job next year. He did interview for the Eagles position this year. Honestly he has been killing it so far this year.

If he's not a head coach next year, he will be soon.

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

You do know where and when Kellen Moore played in college?

Boise State I believe - around the same time as Tyrod Taylor - maybe a year earlier? I think the infamous Boise State game in DC Maryland was his senior year? Or am I thinking of someone else?


2010 was Boise State- VT game. Both Moore and TT were seniors, I believe.

Go Hokies!!

I certainly do...sigh!

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

He has 3+ years of coaching experience all with the Cowboys. I might like him as an OC but I don't think he has the experience to run a P5 college football program.

Neither does fuente but that did not stop White before so...

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
โ€œI served in the United States Navy"

Stop it! Almost the entire college football world thought Whit made the best hire back in 2015. The last several years have left a lot to be desired, to be sure.

I would take Kellen Moore in an instant as HC. He's the winningest QB in college football history, he has an NFL pedigree, and is creative AF. The potential upside is huge, I would love to give him a shot.

That said, I have a feeling (no sauces) that he has no interest in coaching college ball.

Twitter me

Yeah unless he has a specific desire to coach/mold young men, I can't imagine a now established NFL OC wanting to go to the college ranks. The "pure football" guys tend to be NFL guys. You got to have that desire to specifically impact young men to put up with the extra duties of being a college coach. Recruiting and dealing with boosters are two non-football things you don't have to deal with in the NFL (though you could have to deal with intrusive owner/GM types).

Who knows what his aspirations are, though. I agree he would be an amazing hire if it was on the table.

+ He's likely in line to be an NFL head coach sooner rather than later.

If Jerry Jones were smarter than he is (or drunk less frequently) he'd fire McCarthy and promote him.

As a fan of the train wreck run by Dan Snyder (sigh) I'm glad he hasn't figured that out yet.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Well... Mike Tomlin may be available after this season. Virginia guy, all about defense and running the dang football... .hey I can dream

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

As a Steelers fan, I do believe he's run his course in Pittsburgh but it ain't the Steelers style to fire someone. he'll be there as long as he wants to.

He will now rip off 5 wins in a row that they have no business winning to make me eat crow. This is my yearly routine

As he has yet to have a losing season in Pitt, I will wait and see how this year turns out.

Also I recognize he is playing with a older QB, he might have plans for the replacement and ownership will probably let that play out for a couple years even if this year tanks.

Pitt has been in its games that I have watched.

Not a Steeler's fan, but is it Tomlin's time to go or just Roethlisberger's? I feel like Tomlin is doing the best he can with the personnel he has.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Oh it is definitely Roethlisberger's time to go. Ideally, I'd like to see them try Haskins at QB but I know that's easier said than done and the end results may be similar to what they have now with Ben.

I don't think Tomlin's a bad coach and he's never had a losing season. He's also won (I think) only 2 playoff games since they lost to GB in the Super Bowl 10 years ago, so he isn't setting the world on fire either. IMO he will overachieve with a weaker roster and underachieve when it seems they should have a good team.

Either way, I don't see him coaching the Hokies next year haha

just sayin, also lol

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

I hate how much I want that to happen

While this would be the best hire we could ever hope for. I feel like one of us has a better shot of winning the power ball

Go for it

Bruce Feldman's most recent column at The Athletic has Fuente's seat as "pretty warm". It's behind a paywall so I won't copy the whole thing, and the blurb on VT is pretty short. The interesting part is he wrote that Fuente doesn't have great relationships with key people in the program. On one hand, Feldman's not the type to invent things and certainly knows enough people in the sport to know things. On the other, Babcock was willing to throw himself in front of a moving train for Fuente at the press conference to end last year.

Babcock was willing to throw himself in front of a moving train for Fuente at the press conference to end last year.

Not sure willing is the word I would use, more likely that Whit's hand was forced.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

can we at least agree that Whit wound up in front of a moving train for Fuente at the press conference last year, willingly or not?


2021 Season Challenge: only comment with Batman memes.

Previous Challenges: Star Wars (2019), Marvel (2020)

Whit was left on the tracks by an unknown villain like some old timey movie.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

There's no way to know for sure, but it's hard for me to believe Whit would have signed an extension if he were upset people above him kneecapped him at the last moment and kept him from doing his job. Maybe the guy Whit wanted backed out, but no one forced Whit to declare last season Year Zero and insult small donors to prop up Fuente.

Its also reasonable that the events from that presser led to some tough conversations being made behind the scenes that brought about contractual changes that made him comfortable signing an extension.

I will not donate to Virginia Tech Athletics as long as Justin Fuente is the head coach of VT Football. Enough is enough.

this is an interesting point...would be interesting to view his old contract next to his new one to see what sorts of changes there are in any of the language


What contract/extension are ya'll referring to? I don't believe there were any contract changes at the end of last year. If there were, it would be public knowledge.

There is a thread on TKP discussing the terms of his contract, but from what I remember the structure of his bonuses was completely revised to put a much greater emphasis on football.

They are referring to Whit's extension.

Fuente was not extended after last year.

Thanks! Too many pronouns in the post - thought it sounded like a behind the scenes extension for Fuente.

I know a preliminary analysis is already out there and the main difference is bonus structure. Other than that his pay didn't change in an appreciable way. I think it would fall under FOIA so hopefully the Roanoke Times or Athletic put in for it. The contract extension for Whit means there is no intention to get rid of him regardless of what happens with Fuente. Whit has also said that Virginia Tech is his destination job and he has not intention of going anywhere.

It's Time to go to Work

Whit has also said that Virginia Tech is his destination job and he has not intention of going anywhere.

I'm not trying to say this isn't true in any way, but I do want to point out that anyone in his position would probably say the same thing, regardless of how true it actually is. I can't imagine anyone saying anything else - that would be a bit of a PR blunder...


It was unprompted so he could have not said anything. So no, anyone in his position would not have said the same thing.

It's Time to go to Work

Not only that, but your dream job changes as you're exposed to more things. Whit might have gotten a taste of media rights negotiations, and enjoyed it a lot more than fundraising, so he decide to try to be a conference commissioner somewhere (just spitballing here).

TL;DR - things can always change.

Twitter me

Maybe? I'd like to think that if my boss pulled the rug out from under me publicly I'd be gone first chance I got, but I know that I'd stick around for a large enough check.

At the same time, I've also been in a spot where you're basically told to fall on the sword on the short term knowing that you'll be rewarded for it in the long term.

Who knows, really. I'm just saying there are certainly a variety of reasons why it could have gone down as rumored without there being bad blood between Whit and his superiors

I will not donate to Virginia Tech Athletics as long as Justin Fuente is the head coach of VT Football. Enough is enough.

Perhaps Whit jumped the gun and the fact that he had to back track was of his own making. So many possibilities....the truth is almost assuredly less interesting than the speculation. But there is little chance he signs a deal that's football heavy if he's unhappy about how a football coaching issue went down.

"Don't go to, go through"

He signed a new deal this summer that was heavily tied to football performance

One of the biggest changes to the contract is related to the football team's performance.

Babcock's previous contract paid out compensation equal to one and one-half month's salary if Tech made a bowl game and two months salary if the bowl game was part of the College Football Playoff. He would earn an additional $25,000 if the team won the national title game.

Under the new terms, Babcock will receive $25,000 if the team makes a bowl game, $50,000 (noncumulative) if the Hokies make the FBS Playoff.

He will also receive a bonus based on how many games the football team wins โ€” he gets a $25,000 bonus for six wins, $50,000 for eight wins, $75,000 for 10 wins and $100,000 for 12 wins. The regular season win bonuses are non-cumulative with each other, but are in addition to the bowl bonuses.

That was in fact the point I was trying to make. He did sign a football incentive heavy deal. It's unlikely he does that if he was somehow forced to blow up his plan to fire Fu by higher ups. So I doubt that's the explanation of the weird presser. Maybe there was never a plan to fire Fu or as I tried to suggest, he was responsible for a miscalculation or bad timing. I doubt anyone outside the inner circle really knows.

"Don't go to, go through"

I see that now after re-reading. My mistake.

Fuente's only extension was in 2017, I'm talking about the end of year presser *last* year.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

The only rumor (with a significant amount of smoke) I believe is that Whit was told to hit the brakes bc of the optics of COVID, spending millions to can a coach and hire new, while the school was bleeding money over the COVID fallout.

The football team itself handled COVID poorly, and we were starting walk-ons in critical games. This did not sit well with the BOV, school, etc bc the football team was practically getting preferential treatment to avoid COVID and failed miserably. This would explain Feldman's comments.

College football writers and reporters were scratching their heads, wondering why schedule a presser if we were keeping the coach? If what DC mentioned was true, that Whit had his guy up to the last minute, it may not have been the coach who backed out, but Whit. And instead of telling Fuente he was fired, Whit had to spend 4 hours explaining to him how he has to keep his job next season.

So Whit walks into a press conference that doesn't need to happen to explain why he's keeping Fuente, while skirting around the reality that was COVID financial impact.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

If Whit remembered at the last second that there was a pandemic going on and realized there was bad optics on that, then he is an idiot. And I don't think he is an idiot, so I don't think this scenario is likely.

Free Hugh

I think you missed the first sentence implying Whit was told to hit the brakes.

So he hastily called a meeting with the press before being on the same page as his boss? Idk that I believe that either

Free Hugh

He called the presser prior to being told to hit the brakes. Maybe he thought Sands was all in.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

He looked tired, like he had stayed up half the night before. I think his replacement just backed out at the last minute and he didn't like his options. He probably worked late into the night and it became apparent they weren't going to reach a deal. Can't fire a coach if your options don't pan out/you don't like your choices. So he switched tack and had to eat it during the presser, knowing he would have more funding and completed capital projects to sell hopefully a better candidate pool in another year.

Whoever the replacement is will be bigger than the Fuente hire. This will be the future of VT football at stake, as well as a huge hire for Whit that he must get right. Why make a reach when your options didn't fall into place, and when you can just punt this season and have more to offer in a year?

Which begs the question, why not fire him last year, and take JHam as interim, with the intent to hire full time next year? That could have saved the university millions without having to pay for a new head coach.

I don't think the results from the first 4 weeks would change, other than maybe beating WVU. Then there's no search.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

You would have to pay JHam an HC level salary, even as an interim. You can't ask someone to take on the job and not give them fair compensation for it. I think that could have been messy on many fronts. JHam isn't really ready for that, and you just had Bud who wanted the HC job and was passed over, but Whit gives the interim job to his protege who has one year of DC experience? Plus it could have really soured the relationship with JHam if things didn't go the right way.

I think what happened last year was not a popular move but likely the right move at the time. Just ride things out for another year and wait until you have more options.

You can't ask someone to take on the job and not give them fair compensation for it

Can only speak as to what I've experienced in my work life (consulting/contracting) but that is typically the norm for when companies promote from within. You prove your worth in your current role, they throw more responsibility on you or make you acting in a higher role and if you succeed you eventually get the official promotion and pay bump.

In the government, it is the opposite. I see solicitations for positions that are interim, 90 days, and you receive the salary of that position for those 90 days while they perform the full candidate search process.

In the private sector, I have seen where you get to be the acting/interim as a resume builder for a promotion later. Those people always got a boost on their review to get a bonus though so that was their compensation.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

In my experience in the private sector they billed me at the higher rate role and still paid me the same rate. Was good for them and got a little appreciation come end of year review but the company walked away with the most benefit.

Typically different in the non-profit and public sectors. An interim is paid a market rate for the position, not simply given the title.

I've worked in consulting and tech, and see the same thing; you get a title and pay bump after you've proved that you can effectively do the job.

Twitter me

Fair compensation for someone like JHam with limited coaching experience (in comparison to other possible candidates) would likely be below market value/below what Fuente is making, I would imagine.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Would be below, but not his current DC salary level.

You're going to need to explain your math because I'm not seeing how it saves money over the current situation? Also I definitely think results for just the 2021 season get worse not better if you have all the upheaval and transfers from a coaching change.

It's Time to go to Work

We wouldn't be paying $4-5M for a new coach, probably $2-3M for JHam, and staff.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

That doesn't account for the buyout. Your pitch is more for hiring JHam as HC over someone else to save money. I also don't understand the reasoning for an interim tag. Why wouldn't you just make him the HC?

It's Time to go to Work

Uh, JHam's defense last year had us questioning if he could be a DC.

He didn't get an off season to install the new system so I wasn't going to hold it against him. This year is really the first time we have seen what a JHam defense can do and results have been encouraging.

It's Time to go to Work

True, but in December of last year, there was no evidence he could be a good DC, so why would we make him a HC?

Not holding it against him as a DC, but it would have been a JJ type hire if we had fired Fuente last December and promoted JHam.

I see what you are saying. I agree with you.

It's Time to go to Work

I think his top candidates just didn't line up. There was a ton of smoke around Fickell for a hot minute, but it didn't work out. Elliott probably just didn't have the HC experience Whit was looking for (think we were smart to pass), and his list just didn't pan out, so he took one for the team.

I think he's saying that Whit should know that the optics would be poor during the pandemic, so he should have had the brakes on himself - that it speaks badly of Whit that someone needed to stop him.

That doesn't happen to be my opinion, but I think that's what he's saying.

All of the above contributed but SOMETHING had to have changed relatively last minute.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Feldman's not the type to invent things and certainly knows enough people in the sport to know things

Feldman is one of those people who is supremely in-the-know, but only reports on <10% of what he knows. If he has written this, it means (1) it's likely been confirmed by multiple sources and (2) At least one of those sources gave him the okay to publish it

On the other, Babcock was willing to throw himself pushed in front of a moving train for Fuente at the press conference to end last year.


*If you believe Whit was following orders from the BoV

Twitter me

If the defense keeps playing as well as they are, I wouldn't be surprised if they hire Hamilton as HC. Similarly to what Clempson did with Dabo. Might be early but if he can keep the defense humming and hire a stud OC it could work out. Could also save some serious money on his contract and use for recruiting and other assistants.

I'm down to give him the interim tag and give him an interview and of course hire him if he's the best candidate, but under no circumstance should we just settle for JHam because he's there, or because he's familiar, or because he's a cheap option. That is extremely lazy.

Free Hugh

As much as I like JHam, I think he he would be better off as interim HC. Giving him outright HC title gives me James Johnson vibes and we all know how that project went

This makes some real sense. The parallels between the staff at Clemson and VT aren't exact but they're in the same ballpark:

According to the Clemson wiki, Dabo joined the Clemson staff in 2003. Terry Bowden had been coach since 1999, so in 2008 he was in his tenth season but resigned after 6 games. Dabo was in his sixth year and had been promoted to assistant head coach in '07.

At VT, Fuente is already in his 6th year as head coach (even though it feels like a lot longer) and JHam is in his second* year as DC.

So in three years the parallel will be pretty close.

I'm not sure VT can afford to wait 3 years to move on from Fuente though...Unless he surprises everyone and wins 5+ more games this year. I expect him to finish 6-6 or 7-5 this year and given the recruiting classes that will be hitting the field in 2022 and 2023 this might be the best year we have for a few years if we don't change coaches


So your fear is that VT will continue to get better if he's not fired?

no, I think he will win 6 or 7 games this year and fewer games in the subsequent years if he remains. Perhaps my language was a bit confusing (I'm not Brian) but what I meant was that 6 or 7 wins, if he manages that this year, will be the high water mark for a few years unless we change coaches


I would think that at this point, he has to show improvement, otherwise his seat continues to get warmer.

we're in year 6 already. If there was going to be any improvement we would have seen it by now. If this team ends up winning 8 or 9 games this year that will be surprising to me to an extent - although the competition seems to be down this year - the Coastal is BAD.

if we only win 6 games this year I'm not sure you could argue that he has shown any improvement so parting ways with him would make sense. If he only wins 6 games this year, what do you think the realistic odds are of him winning more next year? I would bet a large sum of money that after going 6-6 in 2021 there would be a pretty significant exodus of talent on the offensive side of the ball through the portal. There isn't going to be much talent to work with in 2022 or 2023 and the one thing we do know about this coaching staff is that they really need talent for their offense to work.


I fear we will continue to be mediocre

Free Hugh

Fuente is already in his 7th year as head coach

uh, HOAT, it's year 1.

I would root for the Russians before I would root for Virginia.

Due to James Mitchell getting hurt it's really Year Zero, if you think about it. This one doesn't count.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

It also isn't year 7 I don't think :D Edited my previous post. I think it's year 6. feels like year 10

Well, maybe if you donated more to the Hokie Club, you'd be able to count how many years he's been here. /s

I would root for the Russians before I would root for Virginia.

Donations versus how long you can say Fuente has been at Virginia Tech:

$0.00 to $499 โ€”> One Year
$500 to $2,499 โ€”> Two Years
$2,500 to $4,999 โ€”> Three Years
$5,000 to $9,999 โ€”> Four Years
$10,000 and greater โ€”> Five Years
$10,000 and greater AND publicly support Corn โ€”> Six Years


#MakeTheMove . . . "Vick, dashing back . . . here he comes again . . . Electrifying . . . and have you ever seen anything like this?"

If Whit goes the DC route I'd rather go for a more proven coach like a Jim Leonhard.

DC route hardly works and should be taken with extreme caution

Free Hugh

To be fair, most hires don't work and should be taken with caution.

I might argue this a bit though. I feel like the offensive revolution CFB has undergone in the last 20 years is kind of tapering off and we might see a new era of some innovative and dominant defenses. Could it be worth trying to get a market advantage over the rest of CFB by hiring a defensive innovator?

Get Angry, Bud!

Yeah DC might be an uncommon route, but I really like what Arkansas did - they hired Pittman, who not only had the support of players who had played under him, but was also an OL coach for a looong time. I saw something, I think in the ESPN article about him, saying something like, 'He was on OL coach so he knows how to build in the trenches, and has a long history of evaluating DLs as well'. Sounds like a good call to me.

So you are saying Vance Vice for HC?

I've heard worse ideas on here...

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

If I was calling the shots as AD, I'd only consider sparing CJF with a Coastal Title this year. Even that is a low bar, given the state of ACC Football this year.

Corny needed to be shown the door long ago.

Anytime VT Athletics asks for donations, I laugh. Being that I really only follow the FBS closely, I need to be shown results on the gridironโ€”and decent prospects for a ROIโ€”before they'll see another dime from me. Call me selfish, if you will. VT Football just isn't enjoyable to watch now. I'm fine with not making time for it in my weekly schedule. 12-years ago, I never would've imagined I'd be stating that.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

VT Athletics has a culture of being conservative and reactionary with big decisions like these. We don't have the big-time blue blood winning history to make aggressive decisions with coaches, and unfortunately the Hokie Club was never really planned out well from the get go, so we are playing major catch up there. We aren't ridiculous obsessive football culture like in the Deep South where people donate absurd amounts and prioritize football over everything else. I think your perspective on donating is fairly rational given the status of our program. We are very much so at a crossroads and many people are in a "Show Me First" mindset. Ticket prices and per seat donations have gone up over the last decade, while the quality of the on field product has been on a steady decline.

With the new football funding coming online in 2022 and Whit/the BOV seemingly having a newfound emphasis on football success, the decisions made at the end of the season will be huge. The right hire could really reignite fan and donor interest. It will be interesting to see if we maintain the status quo or truly put our words into action and transform from a challenger to championship brand.


VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

They seem to be pulling their weight in basketball this year.

I see it differently, though.

Cutting off money from VT athletics isn't going to change their coaching decisions, but it does hurt the program you say you want to support.

They'll ultimately get this right. It's a judgment call how much time they give Fuente.

Virginia Tech Football asks for money so they can make improvements that'll help make it more competitive regardless of who the coach is and your response is no because they aren't competitive enough.

It's Time to go to Work

That logic only works at the beginning of them asking. Once they have asked for 10 years and they still aren't competitive, the trust is gone and you need to see actual improvement in order to continue giving. Some people give because they love the school and W/Ls don't play into it. Other people give to have a strong program and for them, W/L is the only real metric they care about. Both approaches are valid.

Get Angry, Bud!

They literally just rolled out the Reach for Excellence campaign with the specific improvements for football that require funding. You want to see Tech make an expensive coaching change? You want to see them hire a high quality coach and assistants? Build up the support staff to attract a high quality coach? It all costs money.

It's Time to go to Work

Yes, but it's not like we are talking about generic money that is floating in the ether. I have a choice between donating to the Hokie Club or some other entertainment option. Hokie Club donations are essentially an entertainment expense. If I'm not entertained, why would I continue to spend money on it when I could generate much more happiness with another type of spending?

Let me be more direct: VT Football doesn't automatically deserve my money. It's not a charity, its not a public service. It's a pure and simple entertainment business, and they make enough money without my help to get by.

Get Angry, Bud!

Sure, but they don't have as much money as some of the teams you'd like to see them beat.

The fact is that fan donations do help teams, but it's over the long term, not the short term. if you want VT to be competitive, the best way to help them is to go to games, buy gear, and donate.

Goes both ways. If the AD wants money they need to do things that are fan friendly like broadcasting spring games and being more open with practices when they can and give better access and outreach in general. It chaps my ass that we've had offensive concerns and QB concerns and D line concerns for years now under this staff and the media isn't allowed to challenge them. We basically hide Cornelson. I'm digressing but the AD has to earn the money

Free Hugh

Whit has definitely earned his AD money, and I'm thrilled he got extended.

I could count the ways, but there are many other threads that do that.

I'm saying the department, not the director

Free Hugh

in fairness to VTKey, that was not very apparent the way you phrased it. I also thought you were referring to the AD (Athletic Director)


Yea that's why I wanted to clarify instead of argue

Free Hugh

Should they continue to massively underachieve in the softest division of the FBS... After years of contributing, and buying VT gear... I can just put my discretionary spending into other causes I hold dear.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

whoa there both pac 10 divisions have a some words about softest division. And we are one team away from matching Big 10 west.

I can't think of a time when we defeated any Pac-10 team in Football. We've lost to: Cal, UCLA, and Stanford in bowl games.

I'd much rather have the likes of UVA, Duke, Pitt, Miami, UNC, and GT as regular opponents. All are teams we should easily dispatch this year. But without a decent offense, they're coin flip games.

VT '10--US Citizen; Virginian By Birth; Texan By the Grace of God.

Rick Monday... You Made a Great Play...

Romanes Eunt Domus

We just don't play them very often, and when we do, it's in a bowl game, so some of the top teams of that year.

They'll be competitive in what is arguably the toughest division of college basketball.

I can't remember if I read this here, or heard it on Split-Zone Duo, or somewhere else, but at the beginning of the year it seemed like there were two likely routes based on Fuente's relationships due to the Baylor and press conference things:

1)The season goes well, and someone hires Fuente away, allowing both parties to save face and money (I like this one best).

2)The season goes poorly, and Fuente gets fired.

Now, there's also a third option, which we may be heading toward, where the season goes poorly enough for Fuente to not get an offer at an attractive enough school to want to leave, but not poorly enough to warrant getting fired.

yeah I think third option is most likely - if we win anywhere from 7-9 games I don't think anyone will be stoked to hire him and it will be hard for Whit to justify firing a coach with a winning record


My hope is in that Third scenario, he is told Corny has to go for him to be retained and that he will not get an extension to his contract while our offensive production is so poor.

Because sadly, this is the part of the existing contract that most coaches would be looking for an extension.

I wouldn't call 8 or 9 wins in the regular season poor and I suspect that's the range where he gets retained and not hired away.

It's Time to go to Work

I'd go with option 2. Fuente is getting bought out at the end of the season. His leadership has sunk the program to a place where losing to Pitt is a forgone conclusion and not getting blown out would be considered a good outcome.

That's a hell of a slap in the face to have to drop back down to coordinator. He won't do that. Fuente is too proud of what he thinks he can do.

Probably take the $10M and spend some time with his girls first before Gary Patterson retires.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

It might be a slap to have to step back to OC. But that could be better than being fired for incompetence.

They had me until

Fuente has a history of making quarterbacks better in college.

I think they have Fuente nailed (for the most part). QB development could reasonably be questioned. But based on the data we have to date, coordinator may be his ceiling at this level. And he'd probably be a good one.

Been giving this some thought since I posted. I likely that he would be the first candidate for the USC OC... But what about Alabama? I don't O'Brien stays beyond this year, and Fuente appears to be in dire need of the Saban coaching rehabilitation.

I'd love this


I did not know what to think of this quote: "Fuente ... should be an option if better candidates say no". So, our head coach is not even a leading candidate for an OC job at USC, if we fire him.

Doesn't matter if it's cake or pie as long as it's chocolate.

Well, if I was USC, I certainly would not want him.

Recovering scientist working in business consulting

I think it tells you everything you need to know

I do feel a little bad for Fuente because I imagine that he's actually a decent Xs and Os guy but he's so dead set on trying to be a CEO type of HC that he doesn't realize his buddy is no good at his job. I think Fuente would probably be a fine coordinator for USC (or anybody, really) but his reputation is directly tied to Cornelsen. Corny is an anchor tied around Fuente's neck and Fuente wasn't smart enough to cut it loose in 2018 which is why he finds himself in the situation he's in now. It's his own making but if he wasn't blinded by pride or cronyism or whatever it is that compelled him to keep Corny employed he'd probably be making a real name for himself at VT. I think hiring JHam was bold and risky but it seems to be a decent hire at this point. Had he done the same for his offense we might not be talking about all of this.


but he's so dead set on trying to be a CEO type of HC that he doesn't realize his buddy is no good at his job.

Do we think he realizes that to be a successful CEO type of HC means evaluating your assistant coaching talent and making tough decisions

It's an unwritten law that it's my lunch pail. I've issued the challenge. If someone outworks me, they can get it.
Darryl Tapp

this is a great point.


but he's so dead set on trying to be a CEO type

I don't think he's succeeding at being a CEO type of HC. If he was, he would realize his buddy is not good at his job and do something about it. I think Fuente has much to learn about being a HC. He found success as an OC and then as a HC at a G5 program with Daryl Dickey and Barry Odum helping him out a lot. Now that he's sort of on his own at VT he's really struggled and I'm not sure he's learning his lessons fast enough. The fact that our offense is the worst it has been in 20 years in his 6th year with the same coaches on that side of the ball is a huge red flag.


USC hasn't even hired an HC yet; how are they looking at OCs? Regardless, USC will have their pick of coordinators. I wouldn't be surprised if they can do better than Fuente.

Regardless - I'd like to see Fuente get an OC job at a big time program. Would be interesting to see what he'd run/call with 4/5-star athletes.

Twitter me

I am with you, I wish him a lot of luck at his NEXT job.