The Case for Justin Hamilton: A Page from Clemson's Book (Edited)

On a cool evening on October 9, 2008, in Winston-Salem NC, Clemson was out of answers. When Tommy Bowden was hired in 1999 he was supposed to lead Clemson to their first ACC Title since 1991. Instead, Clemson was 3-3 for the season with a Thursday night loss to Wake Forest. By late Monday morning, Tommy Bowden would no longer be Clemson's Head Coach.

"You can't lose to Wake Forest on Thursday night," Tommy Bowden says. "You just can't do it."

Instead of finishing out the season, Bowden resigned and recommended Dabo take over in lieu of two other assistants that had head coaching experience. Dabo was the wide receivers coach and was 39 years old. Not the obvious choice, but an intriguing, and has history would have it, wise choice.

In the years since Clemson, has gone 142-34 with 9 Division titles, 7 ACC titles, 4 National Championship appearances and 2 National Titles. It wasn't a completely smooth road with Dabo enduring a losing season in 2010 and a bowl loss to South Florida. The 2011 season looked better, but a 70-33 loss to none other than West By God Virginia prompted a change at DC. Dabo made changes on his staff when needed and the results are indisputable.

Dabo's pay in 2009 was $900K: Hardly notable at the time. He was a risky choice and as such commanded a lower salary, but that left a lot of money for assistants.

Justing Hamilton is 39 years old. He's a former Virginia Tech and NFL player who has steadily risen over his coaching career in a path that recently accelerated.

As an experienced manager over the last 20 years, I have had to mentor and develop the people that reported to me, including my own replacements. I see things in Justin Hamilton that aren't on his resume. He's a risk, but I believe he has a lot of upside.

"Street Cred"

Hamilton is a former player at VT and in the NFL player. That isn't everything, and by itself does not qualify someone to be a coach. However, Fuente's own words are notable:

 "His voice carries tremendous weight on the field and in the locker room because he's worn that helmet and experienced many of the same things the young men in our program are going through"

Let's be honest, we've all been here:

The Jury is still out on Hamilton's defense, however, one thing is clear from the West Virginia game, and some games from 2020. He and his staff were able to adjust, and motivate their players. The Virginia Tech defense in the second half of the West Virginia game responded, stayed focussed and put the team in a position to win.


Most people want leaders that are, or appear to be firmly in control. The last thing I want in a difficult situation is for the person in charge to look like they are going to fold like a tent.

In watching Hamilton, he never looks confused to me. I see two facial expressions: Determined, and for lack of a better description, Pissed AF. This matters because when things aren't going your way, you don't want your coach looking like they have no idea what's going on. That doesn't inspire confidence and certainly will not put a player in a position to succeed or turn things around.


Hamilton as HC could free up money for assistants, much like Dabo did early in his tenure at Clemson.

This is perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the equation. A common issue that is raised is that Virginia Tech doesn't have enough money for good assistants. Well, when your HC's pay is almost half of your coaching budget, that is true. Below are the COVID adjusted salaries for the coaching staff.

Coach Position Pay
Fuente HC 3,825,000
Hamilton DC/Safeties  600,000
Cornelsen OC/QB 441,000
Shibest SP/TE 427,500
Teerlink DL 360,000
Vice OL 270,000
Williams WR 252,000
Lechtenberg RB 247,500
J.C. Price DL 247,500
Smith CB 247,500
Tyler LB 135,000
Total 7,053,000

For the sake or argument, let's say Hamilton gets paid $900,000 his first year as HC. To make things simple, let's assume everything stays the same except for Fuente and Cornelsen. What might that look like?

Edited thanks to Horse's observation with a note. $7,053,000 is total for assistants and the HC.

$7,053,000 - $3,825,000 - $441,000 - $300,000 = $2,487,000

$7,053,000 - $3,825,000 - $441,000 -$600,000 = $4,866,000 this is how much can be distributed among a HC, DC and OC.

$4,866,000 - $9,000,000 = $3,966,000 this is how much can go to the DC and OC.

Could Hamilton hire a competent OC and DC for a total of almost $4M? Probably. I would even bet on it.

Coach Position Pay
Hamilton HC 900,000
TBD DC/Safeties  1,983,000
TBD OC/QB 1,983,000
Shibest SP/TE 427,500
Teerlink DL 360,000
Vice OL 270,000
Williams WR 252,000
Lechtenberg RB 247,500
J.C. Price DL 247,500
Smith CB 247,500
Tyler LB 135,000
Total 7,053,000

EDIT: For those who are looking at this from a minutiae vs. conceptual perspective:

Add $1M to Hamilton's pay to get him to $1.9M and you still have almost $1.5M per coordinator:

Coach Position Pay
Hamilton HC 1,900,000
TBD DC/Safeties  1,483,000
TBD OC/QB 1,483,000
Shibest SP/TE 427,500
Teerlink DL 360,000
Vice OL 270,000
Williams WR 252,000
Lechtenberg RB 247,500
J.C. Price DL 247,500
Smith CB 247,500
Tyler LB 135,000
Total 7,053,000

I'm not saying this is exactly what the numbers would look like, Hamilton could make more and there would still be plenty of money for assistants.

Hamilton has intangibles that I believe are valuable. He's also a Hokie: It's one thing to care about Virginia Tech Football because you are paid to, and you have a lot of integrity. It's another to care about it because you lived and breathed it.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Love Hamilton. Hate all these replace CJF posts that will linger on this VT site.


I could see it. Definitely have to make some homerun coordinator selections though. The more I listen to Coach Ham speak, the more he oozes head coach potential. I think he would recruit and motivate the team well. Listening to the Hokie podcasts and I almost have to laugh at how much better he sounds than Corn.

Also, Smitty/Vice better damn well get raises or they gone. You gotta pay to play, that's why Clemson has so little turnover. When someone produces they pay them and make them want to stay. Venables literally makes head coach money as a DC.

I would assume that if Fuente left, depending on where he landed, Vice and Shibest would likely go as well. Would Teerlinck stay (my understanding is Fuente is the link with him)? Some of that money would then likely go to those positions as well as to Smith like you pointed out - would love to keep him.

It's a good question - who would go and who would stay? A couple thoughts here:

- Obviously any new head coach would need to be able to create their own staff. In that case, I would expect a 100% attrition rate if we got a new coach (unless, of course, we promoted from within, which opens the door to keeping guys)

- Having said that, it isn't a guarantee. Whether we promote in-house or make an outside hire, some coaches may have the opportunity to stay.

- If they DO have the opportunity to stay, why would they go with Fuente? I can't imagine in a million years that Fuente would be taking his staff to a better school - not because there aren't any better schools, but because never in a million years would Fuente have earned a position at a higher power 5 school than us based on his performance with us. I would guess he'd have to drop down to a coordinator role or a head coach of a mid-major or FCS program.

The long and the short of it is that if Fuente is canned I can't imagine anyone going with him just to work with him again.

I agree - I said "depending on where he lands" but have to think it wouldn't be another P5 school, but you never know, maybe a cellar dweller in another P5 conference would take him over a G5 coach or something?

The other question would be, if JHam took over and everyone was willing to stay, who would we want to? On offense, I'd say Vice and maybe Lecht? Defense- possibly everyone?

Yes, great point. If JHam took over who would he actually want? Vice seems like a good grab. I don't know the offensive staff well enough to judge anyone else. We'd need a water boy though, so there are a few candidates.

I think pretending that what happened at Clemson is a reproducible model for elevating the program is unserious, especially when you consider what the landscape of college football is now compared to back when Dabo took over.

It's Time to go to Work

Let's agree there's a difference between unlikely and unserious. I'm deadly serious.

Well put.

If you play it, they will win.

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

And I'm deadly serious about Virginia Tech hiring Urban Meyer after he leaves the Jaguars.

It's Time to go to Work

Freeze I'm a hard pass. Meyer, I think I'd be willing to take the risk, but I don't think we're a big enough program for him to come to. He's probably only gunning for a blue blood to try and get another ring or a retirement gig back at like Bowling Green

Even if Meyer were willing to come to Tech, I'd pass, and only because he doesn't seem to be staying anywhere more than 2-3 years. Unless we thought he could build something here REALLY fast, I'd pass on him.

Not to mention the players Dabo had int the wings compared to how bare our cupboard is

Free Hugh

Maybe it's not exactly reproducible, but Hamilton seems like he's developing a good P5 defense. If we got rid of Fuente, for the salary we'd be able to pay someone, we're likely to go the up-and-coming G5 route, possibly proven successful at FCS. Either way is unproven at the P5 level and look at what it got us last time. This would be different anyway because Dabo didn't have to go and replace a bunch of positions (didn't he keep the coordinators?). Hell, the original poster excluded the possibility of JHam staying DC as well. That means we'd potentially only be a really good OC away from a much better path forward. For the money that would save, we could throw a lot at the OC and line coaches (if Teerlinck left), and (hopefully) new receivers coach as well. Color me intrigued with this idea.

Do you mean in today's college landscape promoting an assistant can't work and is unserious?? Just off the top of my head Kirby Smart, Lincoln Riley, Ryan Day we're all assistants before taking over recently. And if my memory is correct, Kirby Smart expressed interest in the VT job when we hired Fuente but we went the experienced G5 route.

Those situations aren't remotely comparable to the premise of the thread. You're talking about 3 long time assistants that took over blue bloods that were already highly successful.

It's Time to go to Work

Just looking at the current top AP Top 8 and their most recent hires

Alabama -Saban former HC
UGA - Kirby Smart -promoted assistant
Oregon- Mario Cristabol-promoted assistant
PSU - James Franklin- former HC
Iowa - Kirk Ferentz - promoted assistant
OU - Lincoln Riley - promoted assistant
Cincinnati-Luke Fickell - promoted assistant
Arkansas- Sam Pittman - promoted assistant

This argument is going nowhere. I was just calling you out for saying hiring an assistant was "unserious" and would never work in today's environment. Even though it's working at several places. I'm not promoting J Ham as HC and think it would be a slap in the face to Bud Foster if we would not give him the job because he didn't have any HC experience then turned around and gave it to our new DC 4 years later. But saying it is "unserious" to think that hiring an assistant could work is "untrue".

Adding on to this and countering the other point is that you can't call Iowa and Cincy blue bloods.

I hope Bud wouldn't take it as a slap in the face. I think he was an excellent DC, but from things I've read on here, I think he was great at developing good relationships with some recruits, but wasn't a guy that could sell the vision of the program kind of guy to all recruits. Kind of like some guys do excellent work at one level, get promoted and don't do well at the new level - getting promoted beyond their capabilities. I think any HC in the country would have snapped him up in a second as a DC, but want to say I heard there was occasional interest in him as an HC that never panned out for him.

It is unserious to think that firing Fuente and promoting Hamilton will yield results comparable to Clemson hiring Dabo. The college landscape isn't the same as it was back then. Your assistants to head coaches examples aren't comparable. Even from your revised list most of them are blue bloods that were successful before the coach took over. Kirk Ferentz has mediocre results most years with a periodic breakout and Sam Pittman is too soon to tell although he certainly seems to have rebuilt Arkansas. Luke Fickell is a good example but he was an assistant at Ohio State for years before he took over Cincinnati. That's not the same as Hamilton who has been an assistant for 4 years in the FBS. In the mean time there is an enormous list of examples of highly regarded assistants that took over jobs and failed spectacularly, requiring major rebuilds to get programs back to winning.

It's Time to go to Work

Cant say I wouldnt be okay with this but I feel like we have alot of football to play and alot can happen between now and then so we shall see. It would definitely make it easier financially than shelling out for a big name brand. In the end I'm giving Fu the rest of the season to prove himself and I think hes owed that and at the end we will see where we're at. If something bad happens ala a collapse and bunch of losses etc I could definitely see Hamilton getting the temporary gig for the rest of the season though.

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

Agreed. I don't think Fu should step down early, but you can't discount the idea that Whit has Hamilton as a viable interim to give him time.

As I think he should hes looked good and I personally really like his ability to adjust in game and considering his level in experience his ceiling could be pretty high and if so thats a good place to be.

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

Yes, there is a lot of football left to play this season, but this isn't about just this what if we get to 8 wins and CJF keeps his job...then we go into next year hearing how the offense has really turned a corner, we won't have to rely on the D to wins games again, blah blah blah....get a couple games in and Corn's play calling shits the bed again and we're calling for a change again, maybe he does just enough to keep his job again, rinse repeat. It's not just one season under the microscope here, we've seen for years where Fuente is taking this program, and it is not where any of us want it to be.

Fuente is not the guy to get us back to where we were. It's just not gonna happen.

Time to rip the band-aid off and try again to find our guy

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I think hes owed that

He's already been given that chance. He's vehemently denied that things are wrong or over-their-heads in the coaching offices. He's continued to make promises that he needs time to get "his players" in the system, that it takes time after a coaching change. He's claimed that VT was hit hardest and most unfairly by COVID-19, so last year shouldn't be his fault. He was on the chopping block at the end of last season. Whit had his "come to jesus" moment with him, gave him goals to improve coming in to this season. Yes, he got the nice W against UNC to open the season, but as it turns out that was more about UNC being way overrated and shitting the bed than VT owning the entire game. His "best passing game he's had at VT" has struggled against every opponent so far and has yet to put up a solid 4 quarters. Looking at hus history at VT I can't fathom how he hasn't been given a fair shot to prove himself as a P5 coach. If Whit waits until the end of the season for the 12/15 date, VT will be way behind the rest of the league in ability to find good replacements with all the teams that are going to need new staff in the coming weeks. Waiting out Fuente til the end of the season to potentially fire him, IMO, will be worse than just keeping him for 2022, as I don't see any good replacements still being available at that time. And I don't think the staff in VT athletics have the ability to keep a replacement in waiting a secret until the end of the season if Whit has a handshake deal with someone before then (would that even be legal for letting Fuente's payout lower on 12/15?)

Saying that you brought the coach back so he's owed a fair chance at winning enough games to save his job is correct. People just don't like it because they have predetermined the outcome for the season.

It's Time to go to Work

I trust Whit to make the best decision with the available information.

Twitter me

I have definitely heard worse arguments. Presence means a lot and IMHO I would love to have someone at the top spot that has intensity. I'm so sick of the "Aw, shucks!!" pressers after losses. I know we aren't going to get a big name HC because of who we are, where we are, and the contents (or lack thereof) of our wallet. But it would be nice to at least see a coach who's as pissed as we are after a loss.

If you play it, they will win.

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

To be fair, if we were winning, to a certain extent no one would care what he said in his post-game pressers. For example, Beamer had a lot of those kind of pressers after losses too, but he was Frank Beamer, and people had already made up their mind about the quality of coach he was.

For example, he would say a lot of the things people hate to hear on this site, like 'it's not playcalling, it's execution," and no one was coming at him with pitchforks. He'd defend Stinespring to the death, and no one called him clueless. Heck, after a non-conference loss one year (I think ECU?), he compared it to 'just an exhibition game.' Can you imagine Fuente coming out after the WVU loss and saying 'well, it was just an exhibition game.'

My point is, for worse or for better, it seems to me a lot of Hokie fans have already made up their minds on this staff, so it's irrelevant what they say in pressers. We just gotta start winning for things to change.

My point is, for worse or for better, it seems to me a lot of Hokie fans have already made up their minds on this staff, so it's irrelevant what they say in pressers. We just gotta start winning for things to change.



I'd just like to point out that Beamer got absolutely ROASTED for the exhibition game remark.

Yeah that sentiment did not sit well with fans no matter how true it actually is.

(add if applicable) /s

Prepare to clutch pearls, TKP...I didn't like Beamer's "Aw, shucksness" (It's a word, I just made it up.) either. It was cute until it wasn't.

Call me crazy, but I'm ready for some fire at the top. I think Lane Stadium is too.

My point is, for worse or for better, it seems to me a lot of Hokie fans have already made up their minds on this staff, so it's irrelevant what they say in pressers.

Fair point. I would put me in that crowd.

We just gotta start winning for things to change.

COUNTERPOINT: We gotta change to start winning.

If you play it, they will win.

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

COUNTERPOINT: We gotta change to start winning.



Fair points, and I agree. I don't necessarily think that's a counterpoint though, because I think both are true:

We gotta change to start winning; no one disagrees with that.
But we also gotta win for things to change in the fanbase, regardless of how it happens. If Fuente fires Cornelson tomorrow, acted fired up 24/7, etc..... and STILL went 6-6/7-5, no one would be happy. Most fans don't pay attention to pressers or even know who the coordinators are. They just wanna win, and until that happens, no ones gonna be satisfied, no matter who's calling the plays, how the coaches talk in the pressers, or whether the spring game is televised.

FFS. You're getting caught up on the presser scenario I used to illustrate the point instead of the point. To hell with the pressers!!! I want a coach that not only seems like he cares but he's's HIS team.

I want someone who takes ownership and takes it personally when we lose.

Not because of the goddamned press conference. Because they will light a fire in some asses.

How many times do we lose because we come out sleepy AF and drop one to a team we shouldn't have? If you have a number, you're wrong because no one can count that high.

EDIT: And for the record, I'm not saying JHam is that guy. But hell, he could be. I just know Fuente isn't that guy.

If you play it, they will win.

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

Completely misunderstood my point, but I think we mostly agree so I'll just end it with this:

All of these intangibles you're talking about doesn't always add up to a winning football coach. There are a million football coaches out here that could light a fire in the players' asses and always take ownerships and coach like their life depends on it.... and still not get us to where we all want to go. This level of college football is just too competitive.

To say Fuente doesn't take ownership or have any of those intangibles is just not true... we've seen him do it. But regardless, at the end of the day no one is going to be satisfied with anything around here until we have a winning team again, regardless of whether the coach is Fuente or anyone else.

If this were the situation to play out, Hamilton as head coach and Ryan Smith as DC has a nice ring to it

high effort post, appreciate this!

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

I don't think we would hire a HC at $900k. I know that's probably his market rate given experience, but just like with Mike Young, the caliber of job will demand a certain level of compensation. I would say $3.5-$3.75MM bare minimum even for a first-time HC at VT.

I think in this specific scenario (completely unproven, former player, etc.) you can go like mid to high 2M range (2.4-2.8is). Shane was hired for less than 3m/yr starting out at USCe.

Either way, I agree the 900k number is probably way off.

It was LOW at Clemson at the time. Bowden (with certain goals) would make $2.2M. Dabo wasn't even making as much as Beamer in 2012. As per ESPN:

Jimbo Fisher ($2.7 million), Paul Johnson ($2.3 million), Frank Beamer ($2.32 million) and Jim Grobe ($2.2 million) are the only ACC coaches making more than Swinney, according to the USA Today coaches' salaries database and several other sources.

He got a raise to $2.2M after winning an ACC Championship. Prior to that he was at about $1.8M.

The point being that when you have both talent and experience you are lower risk. Hi talent and low experience presents a risk, low talent and high experience presents a risk. I would avoid low talent, high experience as it demonstrates an inability to learn and/or adapt.

Dabo had talent, but little experience. That raised his risk profile and therefore lowered his salary. As he gained experience and kept producing his salary went up. WAY UP.

The product on the field generated more revenue.

You just have to pay him enough to take the job. Sure it's not common, but there's really no reason other than appearances to pay someone as young and risky as him more than 1M for the job

I support it if we are willing to buy the best OC and DC available and completely overhaul the recruiting department to be funded at a similar level of Clemson.

Because if you're not willing to do that, you're only going half-in on the Clemson model, without the financial backing to make it work. And I'm glad you put some thought into that reality. Good post.

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

if we are willing to buy the best OC and DC available and completely overhaul the recruiting department

I'm honestly in a position i dont care any longer about who specifically the HC is (as long as said individual doesn't have PR baggage that would create even more problems). We need someone that understands how to manage more than anything, and when to let go underperforming staff at any level in the program before it manifests itself into a much larger problem like we are probably experiencing now. I dont think its too far of a reach to say our underperforming OC is directly tied to the xfer portal (on both sides of the ball), shitty recruiting, and poor execution on offense which then goes in to a positive feedback loop creating an even BIGGER crisis of xfers, portal, and performance.

If we want to climb out of the hole the budget for paying coaches and support staff has to increase a ton. We need to stop building new building everywhere on campus that we don't need and put it into football. I don't get why it's so hard for Whit to understand if you win in football you can build all the stupid buildings you want, but if you don't win in football you're just building new buildings that will never be full

Go for it

It's our school president that either doesn't understand that, or does and is willingly choosing to not flow cash that way.

My guess is the latter

Cause he's the school president, and has multiple priorities not tied to athletics. Yes, athletics is important, but there's a reason fundraising, donors, and boosters are so important to the impact of athletics, b/c they only get so much of the overall financial pie. Some would argue the athletic department gets too much money from the school.

On the flip side, every university is going to take a few years to recover from COVID related financial impacts. It's one of several reasons Fuente was not fired last year.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

That's not how that works. Those are two totally separate pools of money. The University stopping building construction doesn't free up money for the Athletic Department to use.

It's Time to go to Work

I am willing to take a shot in the dark on this, biggest thing needs to be a reasonable salary with no stupid unearned buyout clause so if it ends up being a mistake after 2 or 3 years we can just move on without significant financial impact

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:
“I served in the United States Navy"

Is that even a thing? Because if it's not, I can't see any coach in the country taking this job over any other available one that WOULD pay out, even if they failed.

This is a great post! Thanks for sharing your idea. I really like how you've laid out your thoughts and arguments.

Hiring JHam as HC would carry a lot of risk. But, as they say, "scared money don't make money"

As many others have said, I don't think we'd get away with only paying JHam 900K but I do agree that his risk profile would justify paying him significantly less than Fuente meaning that we would still have more money to pay assistants than we have now. I don't think Fuente is going to walk away of his own accord, especially mid season, so if he's fired there will be a buyout that VT has to contend with as well. These are factors Clemson didn't have to deal with.

I also tend to agree somewhat with Alum that we can't just copy the Clemson model for the sake of it. I do think there are valuable things to learn from the "Clemson experiment" and we also need to realize that since their formula worked for them that doesn't necessarily mean it will work for VT (or anyone else, for that matter). The question is, do we want to carbon copy Clemson or do we want to use Clemson as inspiration to forge our own path?

I'm not being paid the big bucks to develop and execute the overall strategy for the VT Athletic Department which also means that I don't have any of the same insights that Whit has so developing such a strategy is a fool's errand. All I know is what I see in front of me. What I see is a team that can't establish an identity on offense, a coaching staff that looks lost at times, poor recruiting efforts, and consistently inconsistent performances from the team. Every single year that Fuente has been here he has had at least one "good" win and one or two "bad" losses among a sea of uneven performances. In his 5.25 years I haven't seen any signs that indicate things are going to improve offensively. And this is the biggest sticking point for me. Fuente was explicitly hired to bring a competent offense to Blacksburg. 2016 aside, he has largely failed to do so. The further we get from 2016 the more I think that was an anomaly rather than a sign of things to come. Had it been the latter, we wouldn't be talking about this in year 6.

I do think it is time to move on from Fuente. I just don't know the best path forward. Could it be JHam? Possibly, though, I think that will be a tough sell to the donors. My concern is that Whit's hand will be guided somewhat and IF he fires Fuente he'll be limited to bringing in some big name coach with some amount of "qualified experience". I don't necessarily believe that is the best course - I like the idea of bringing in a young, talented, and hungry person who wants to prove themselves. Those folks can be hard to find, though, and they come with elevated risk. I think taking that risk is important - I worry that the folks in charge will want the "safe" option because they're afraid of messing up. Well, fear of messing up is what has us in this situation to begin with. Clemson wasn't afraid and it paid off for them. That, is the lesson to take from Clemson. Don't copy their formula, copy their mentality.


I also tend to agree somewhat with Alum

Copied for posterity 😁

In all seriousness, the Clemson model is pretty simple, but difficult to execute. Go out and buy the best OC and DC you can find and then dump every remaining penny you have into recruiting. If this means you have to break the bank and eliminate some non-revs to make it happen, do it. If this means you need to underfund basketball for 5-10 years, do it. The ROI on going all-in on football can be ludicrous and well worth it in the long haul.

The problem is, actually doing this seems to go completely against how we've been trying to position the Athletic Department for the past 20 years, where we care more about our Director's Cup standings than anything related to football.

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

The ROI on going all-in on football can be ludicrous and well worth it in the long haul.

How many programs have had this kind of success though? Clemson? Any others?

Just because they do something and they are currently succeeding does not necessarily mean it will happen elsewhere, or that cutting sports it what led to that success to begin with.

If this means you need to underfund basketball for 5-10 years, do it.

Hard no on that. We're just starting to see dividends on that front, after seven years (Brent and Mike Young) of increased investments. You turn off the spigot now, and watch all the momentum being built there evaporate.

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

Head coach is a lot different from Defensive Coordinator. It comes with a whole lot of unrelated headaches. And he wouldn't be making 900K, he'd be making at least double that.

Being a head coach would take Justin Hamilton out of a job he hasn't quite mastered yet, but has lots of potential in. I'd rather see him get the opportunity to perfect the craft he's currently practicing. If you're a big Justin Hamilton fan, what you'd rather see is him having a chance to bring this defense to a higher level, while leaving the head coach headaches (and criticism) to someone else. So what you'd rather have is Justin Fuente (or someone else) taking over offensive play-calling.

For these reasons, I don't think it's a great idea.

Agreed on both counts.

First, head coach Ham at 900k is just plain ludicrous. The HC is not making less than the coordinators. So start over with a realistic salary for a P5 HC.

Second, let Hamilton become an elite, or even just an established, DC. You can elevate him later when he's actually proven something.

As key says, the problem is the offensive playcalling. So address that.

It also seems overly simplistic to assume of the Hokies take a gamble rather than do something 'safe' then it will work out just like Dabo did in Clemson.

From the Jim Weaver School Department of Athletics

OC/OL...Vice...raise pay to 500k
DC/DL...Teerlinck or Price, raise pay to 500k
S...Kam Chancellor...275k

So you'd have 900k with Hamilton, 1.5m with the coordinators, and 1.65 for all the position coaches, giving you a total coaching cost at 4.05m.

From the Nick Saban School of HIRE EVERYTHING
3m can now be used to hire support staff and analysts

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

When Jim Weaver actually did this (in basketball), it saved money, but diminished the program.

I never said it was a GOOD idea

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

Shibest SP/TE 427,500
Teerlink DL 360,000
Vice OL 270,000
Williams WR 252,000

Are you assuming these guys would stay or are you just using them as placeholders. I would imagine they're all more tied to Fuente than to VT

Lecht - I have no clue

Smith - Depends on what kind of dynamic he has with JHam. Not sure who brought him over, or if it was a mutual Fu/JHam both wanted him or if JHam said I think this is the guy and then Fu signed off.

Price and Tyler have VT ties so would be the most likely to stay, but might cost a few extra dollars

Place holders. I would expect replacements to get similar pay.

I wonder how this went for Kevin Jones...

He's in Blacksburg, I think he's doing fine. I doubt he'd want to leave his design company to be a RB coach.

In watching Hamilton, he never looks confused to me. I see two facial expressions: Determined, and for lack of a better description, Pissed AF.

Now where have I seen this before..... Oh yes!:

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

I used to love seeing Foster's fire on the sideline!!! The lack of it is also why I knew he was ready to retire and why we're not going to see him as HC(even though people keeps throwing it around every now and again).

And it also seemed like you could see the wheels turning - and frequently saw changes after halftime.

Let's get this done.

We need a better player caller at OC, JHam has good connections. I know he can definitely bring someone in there.

Bring Justin Harper for WR Coaching

Heck I See Jonathan Galante on Nick Saban's Analyst list and Jake Long

I would hire Zack Kittley from Western Kentucky as the OC, has a good track record at every level

Ian Shoemaker from Eastern Washington is another good choice

Always been a fan of Bodie Reeder (Didn't get a fair shake at Utah State), has FBS experience and solid offenses in FCS. Great play caller who can adjust. Currently an Analyst at Auburn

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I would not keep too many of Fuente's people on offensive side of the coaching staff

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I have to ask - who would you keep???


"It's a miracle in Blacksburg, TYROD DID IT MIKEY, TYROD DID IT!"

I think we mostly all agree on that, keeping Vice.

I would move Lecht into a full recruiting role.

Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

I would not keep anyone on offense, not even Vice, not even Lecty, not even the Special teams coach.

Get a fresh start, new vision. Keep all the defensive coaches.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

we tried that once....


How could you not keep an offensive line coach that looks like this:

But can also shake it like this:

Side note did we just totally photoshop a VT shirt on him in that first image?

Did it to the whole staff when they came over from Memphis.

Did we just keep his Memphis profile picture and photoshop a Tech polo on him?

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

either that, or Vice is consistent AF


If the Atheltic Department really wants to take a swing at becoming a national powerhouse it will take a visionary (and very risky) hire such as this to achieve(not even nessecarily Hamilton). The odds of success are likely low. Personally the model described in the OP is one I agree with. Hire a cheaper HC based on leadership and ability to sell the program. And then hire the Xs and Os out with the saved money. IM(uneducated)O the head coaches influence on the Xs and Os is greatly over stated.

If the athletic department wants to maintain the status qou of the last decade. Middling records with a good 10 win season every once in a while. Then hire another coach with qualified head coaching experience. The odds of becoming a Clemson are likely much less but the risk is also likely less (albeit not zero)

If they do can fuente at the end of the year this ia how I currently see the two options presented to the program.

If the Atheltic Department really wants to take a swing at becoming a national powerhouse it will take a visionary (and very risky) hire such as this to achieve(not even nessecarily Hamilton). The odds of success are likely low.

A non-inhouse (JHam) version of this would be taking a chance on someone like Will Healy. High risk for many reasons, but young, seems to have a high ceiling, and is very familiar with our recruiting territory.

It could be the perfect hire. It could also be no different than dozens of other failed G5 to P5 stints from promising young coaches.

I made an argument for Shane before he was hired at South Carolina. Similar thought process

If you play it, they will win.

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

It is sad that coaches are able to get so much guaranteed money up front on their salary. I believe 100% coaching should be heavier on pay for results. Some of these guys are to comfortable with their base rate and it shows. What is Coach Fu's highest level of football experience as a player or coach? Correct me if I am wrong but there is nothing there to suggest he really understands expectations of always being at the top. Memphis was happy to win 8 games and get a bowl. Anything more was bonus feelings for them. But we are VT. And we expect 10 wins, Coastal crown, and playing for at least an ACC Championship EVERY season.


Outside of the whole lack of HC experience, which wouldn't be a deal breaker for me, my concern would be his recruiting abilities. He needs to be able to bring in better talent while he's still the DC, and he's not. There are maybe 2 kids on the defensive side of the ball from the past/current 3 recruiting classes that fans would excited about (1 of them isn't signed yet). There are some other nice additions, but not many people are getting excited about a mid 3-star player.

If we're going with someone with out HC experience, my money would be on Dre Bly He's from VA, certainly knows how to recruit the heck out of VA, and would be detrimental to UNCs rise.

Ugh fuck that guy though

100% agree with your sentiment, but JH needs to kick it up multiple gears on the recruiting trail before I would trust him as the HC. How is he going to pull in a 4-star QB if he can't even get a 4-star safety.

Helping Justin Hamilton become the first black coach to win a national championship is a big effin draw for kids in the 757. More than playing for a washed-up has been as your position coach.

On two separate TSL Podcast episodes both Will and Chris spoke about how impressed J'ham was and how he "oozed head coach material" and "head coach in the making."

Neither suggested he was ready or that he was the guy VT should hire, they only stated that he had that "it" factor when you spoke to him, when you saw him with the players and when you watched him in a press conference.

Is coronavirus over yet?

I am very confident that JHam has a bright future as a coach, I am less confident it will be primarily at VT.

Why? Seriously, I'd like to know your thought process.

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

If the defense continues to play this way, he will become a popular DC candidate at bigger programs who can double his salary. I do not think he views himself as "one of Fuente's guys" and if he gets an opportunity to take a more lucrative job elsewhere, or remain on a potentially sinking ship for less money, I believe he may choose the former. It's impossible to know if he would be given the opportunity to stay on under a new HC, or if he would view that project as worthwhile to remain. In the hypothetical of the OP I would imagine he would take the HC job at his alma mater if offered, but no way to know we'd take that leap so soon. I've mentioned many times that I would love to have JHam and Smitty here for a long time, but again, that would require several moving pieces to fall the right way. Hence, I am confident he has a bright future in coaching, but less certain it will primarily be here. I hope it is.

It is unlikely that JHam will be promoted to HC if Fuente is fired. He will also not likely be retained by the new coach. Possibly if we are looking for another HC 5 years from now, he might be hired at VT at that point.

Possibly if we are looking for another HC 5 years from now, he might be hired at VT at that point.

I see what you did there.

This is a much better idea than the current idea being implemented - do absolutely nothing different and expect it all to get better by simply saying "we need to coach better" or "we need to execute better."

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

@selhini, Are those numbers right? Strikes me that the calculation there subtracts the fired Fuente and Cornstalk... but also subtracts the promoted Virginia Smithfield JHam. Hear me out for a sec:

If the budget is 7,053,000
And we save 3,825,000 by firing Fuente (so our current spend is now 7,053,000 - 3,825000 = 3,228,000)
And we save 441,000 by firing Corndog (so our new current spend is now 3,228,000 - 441,000 = 2,787,000)
And we spend 300,000 more on JHam (so our newest current spend is now 2,787,000 + 300,000 = 3,087,000)

Then wouldn't JHam's budget for assistants be 7,053,000 - 3,087,000 = 3,966,000

Going in reverse, the sum of all salaries for people not named Fuente, Corncob, or JHam sums to 2,187,000
Add JHam's new salary of 900,000 to get to 3,087,000
Again, seems to me like the remaining budget would be 3,966,000.

Unfortunately for us our ceiling appears to be 8 wins.

Thanks! I fixed it! Broke out Excel.

So something struck me - about how the players all respond to JHam. Now I know people on here don't like him, and basketball is different from football from a team size perspective, but Coach K has said that his success hinged greatly on him selling a vision to Johnny Dawkins and getting him to go to Duke. Would JHam be able to do that as head coach - sell a vision that would resonate to upper-tier recruits? Probably a lot easier to do as HC than DC.

Mike London was able to get a few 5 star kids to go to UVA when they flat out sucked. I gotta believe to someone capable of getting someone to buy into their vision can recruit well even when facing off against the blue bloods.

Maybe Hamilton is a risk, but I gotta think that if we could pay him a lot less than Fuente, that mitigates the risk to some extent because the buyout wouldn't be anywhere near as high. The big question is if Hamilton is a guy that can do that.

Hamilton, Smith, Lechtenberg and Price are key recruiters who would need to stay here if we will ever grow from where we are now. They are selling a vision, and getting 2 massive in state recruits is pivotal in that process.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I love JHam, and I would love for the next coach to be a former Hokie that already understands what VT football is all about.

But I say pump the brakes on this one. In his one full season as DC, we had one of the worst defenses in school history. He's still got a lot to prove in my eyes before giving him the HC job.

It was the first year of us having a new DC in how long? With COVID. Did you keep track of how many players on defense were out with COVID protocols each week? In a season with only 1 non-conference game (so comparing against seasons where we play usually at least 3 games that should be a lot easier on the D). And not just a new DC, but wasn't almost every coach new on D last year? Playing with players they hadn't had a lot of opportunity to coach and that they didn't recruit? With a first round NFL draft pick that didn't play because of COVID (wasn't there more than one player that sat out on defense due to COVID?).

I mean, I don't know how you don't cut a new DC some slack the first year for a lot of reasons, especially last year.

Edit: I distinctly remember us having to play at least one walk-on (who may never have seen game time otherwise) because of players being out due to COVID. And he played in at least 2 games, if not 3!

I think you misunderstood my point. I cut JHam slack for all the same reasons that you have. I'm only saying that he needs to prove that he's a capable coach for long stretches before we name him the new HC. He was given an unbelievably tough hand last season - no doubt. But at some point, you've gotta prove yourself before becoming the new HC.

Fair enough. Although Dabo was only a receivers coach. Sometimes if you see great potential, you go all in on it. I don't know of any other examples like that though and most ADs probably want to go with the best resume, but I'd argue there's a lot of risk with pulling someone from G5 or other non P5 HC job. I'm sure there's a lot to consider - current trajectory of the team, possibly Fu's willingness to part ways with Corny and who he'd replace him with, availability of other alternatives, etc. etc.

Th e question would be how long was Dabo a wr coach in that system.

This is the post that makes sense. The d looks better. But it was horrible last year. Time will tell how good he is. It is absolutely premature to be considering him for head coach.

"I play real sports, not trying to be the best at exercising..." - KP

Here's an interesting article (link) that shows 3 successful head coaches who weren't ever coordinators first. Worth a read when considering JHam as HC.

If you want JHam (and/or any other of Fuente's staff) to stick around, the best way to have that is to keep Fuente.

Are you suggesting we keep Fuente or trying to warn us that if Fuente goes everyone goes?


I'm saying that if what you want is a different offensive coordinator, advocate for that.

JHam hasn't even peaked at defensive coordinator, not sure I see why you'd take that away and make him a head coach right now.

As much as I love JHam, I think the move to HC is a bit fast and aggressive.


I strongly disagree, and this is why:

1- JHam is an energetic and extroverted coach who by all accounts connects very well with recruits, players, and the media. Exactly one of the qualities a head coach needs (Think Dabo without the cringe factor)
2- JHam has proven that he knows how to make in-game adjustments successfully (I will grant that the sample size is small)
3- JHam has football "street cred" for his successful NFL career.
4- JHam loves Virginia Tech and wants to make our program a championship caliber team again for the long term. (An assumption based on his interviews)
5- He is not too young or inexperienced to be a head coach at this level, a 39 year old man is ready for any challenge, these are his prime years.
6- And this one seals the deal for me. He is Bud GOAT Foster's hand-picked replacement of every coach in CFB. In Bud I still trust.
#makethemove #JHam4VT

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

that last point is very convincing.


It is far more likely that JHam will be more like JJ than Dabo in this situation, unless you are prepared to give him 5 years to learn how to be a head coach. That five years is likely to be sub 0.500 football.

To the last point - Bud hand picked him for DC, not head coach. Big difference.

I respectfully disagree. In my opinion, Bud chose JHam because Bud recognized the potential JHam has to be a successful coach and leader of young men at a higher level. Yes, the position available at the time was DC, but the endorsement carries the weight of Bud's entire career interacting with coaches at every level of CFB. Nearly every coach wants to be the head whistle eventually, and Bud certainly knew that fact. If Whit fires Fuente at the end of this season (very possible) and allows JHam to be scooped up by another program, it will be a huge mistake imho.

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

And all that may be true, but JHam is not ready to be a head coach at a P5 program right now. In 5 years, maybe, but not now.

As for JHam getting scooped up by another program, perhaps that prepares him to come back and be a successful HC further down the line.

JHam is great, but he's not even an established DC yet.

It may be that he'll be a superstar head coach one day, but he's not there yet.

If he were the DC with this level of experience at a different school, would people here be jumping all over this idea? Nope.

Agree to disagree in a gentlemanly fashion. Go Hokies!

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

You just don't get it, do you? Cornelsen isn't going anywhere so long as Fuente is the head man. I'm pretty happy with the job Hamilton has done with the defense so far. I know he's young and has barely proven himself but he has his defense, in year 2, playing a whole lot better than Cornelsen has his offense playing, in year 6. Hamilton's job with the defense through the first third of 2021 has proven two things: 1) he is one heck of a coach and 2) it is possible to get your players playing effectively within two years - something Cornelsen has failed to do in 6 years.

Yes, Cornelsen must go. He should have been canned in 2018. At this point you are foolish to believe that Fuente is going to fire him and hire someone better. If that was going to happen, it would have happened already. There is only one way to change the OC. Fire the HC. I don't like that option because I like the defensive staff a lot and firing Fuente likely means a clean sweep of the entire staff. In the long term it will be better for VT to bring in a guy who isn't afraid to fire underperforming coaches. If Fuente remains in place, Cornelsen continues to fubar the offense and Hamilton will get an offer to go somewhere else. I'm not sure Fuente will be so lucky with his defensive coordinator after Hamilton is gone and then we'll be back to having a terrible offense AND a terrible defense instead of just having a terrible offense.


Nothing you stated there is in conflict with what I posted.

I don't think JHam has proven himself as an award-winning DC just yet, but he has made improvements, and I want him to have a chance to continue working in that role as VT. He's not ready to be a head coach, and I don't think he'd likely succeed if he had both roles.

Maybe I'm misreading your posts but my interpretation is that you believe the best path forward is keeping Fuente (and, thus, keeping jham as dc) and firing Cornelsen.

I agree with that path but at this stage its a dream scenario that just ain't happening. Fuente is not going to part ways with Cornelsen. So there's no point in advocating for that. Fuente needs to be fired. That sucks because we lose jham but it is what it is


Cornelson really hasn't turned in a shitty season yet for the offense, even with 2018's really young group. This is the worst offense he's had by a lot. As mad as we've been at him for small dumb mistakes there really hasn't been a reason backed by the numbers for Fuente to get rid of him at the end of the season

I don't think the goal should be to become a national powerhouse.

The goal should be to put players in the NFL, that means better recruiting, better strength/training, better position coaches and using offensive/defensive schemes that translate to the NFL.

Start putting more guys in the NFL, then eventually become a powerhouse.

I have heard its pretty much JHamm's HC gig when, not if, Fuente leaves.

I would be all about it. He takes accountability whenever he makes a mistake, has charisma, passion, can relate to players, interacts with the fan base, and loves VT. We are also already seeing he is capable of making game adustments (cough cough Corn cough cough).

Bleeding burnt orange and chicago maroon

I would be accepting of this if Fuente left on his own after the season. In house hire, keep the recruiting class intact, get a solid OC and key offensive staff. Saves us a lot of money to spend on recruiting and coaching salaries. Most Importantly, keeps us out of the coaching carousel. Too many high profile openings this year, I don't see us getting the coach we would want.

With the way fans are treating Fuente after barely losing to WVU, I wouldn't be shocked to see him leave if he goes 10-2, or 9-3 with an ACC Coastal title and an F$U offer.

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

With the way fans are treating Fuente after barely losing to WVU

I hate this argument. I hate this argument because it misses the forest for the trees. I hate this argument because it implies that the WVU loss was an anomaly. I hate this argument because it makes it seem that fans are unfairly outraged that our offense has continually regressed year-over-year (Herbert's heroics notwithstanding) over the last 6 years. I hate this argument because it assumes that "barely losing to WVU" is acceptable and unique. "Barely losing to WVU" isn't the reason fans are done with Fuente. "Barely losing to WVU" is a continuation of a pattern that has established with Fuente. A pattern of showing up to games ill-prepared and getting completely outclassed for long stretches of the game. A pattern of offensive ineptitude that costs us games. A pattern of blaming a perfectly functional defense for not doing enough when the offense is really to blame. A pattern of inconsistent performances from a team that should win more games than it does.

Fan's aren't just mad that we "barely lost to WVU". Fans are mad that we continue to "barely lose to teams we should beat". Fans are upset because the players played their nuts off and the coaches couldn't get out of their own way. Fans are upset because this team hasn't even sniffed the division title of the weakest division in the P5 since 2016. Fans are upset because this coaching staff has completely and utterly failed to demonstrate any sort of forward progress (save for a couple generational talents playing hero ball). Fans are upset because in year 2 our defense is significantly improved but in year 6 our offense is considerably less effective than where each started. JHam's tremendous work is being undone by incompetence on offense.

Yes, the team is 3-1. Yes that is better than most folks expected (granted, those lower expectations are based on how poorly we think of these coaches, not based on what we think VT, as a football program, should be capable of). We are 3-1, in large part, because JHam has worked miracles on defense. The expectation heading into 2021 was that the defense was going to struggle but hopefully continue to improve. Well, JHam has completely shattered everyone's expectations of his defense. Unfortunately, the offense has regressed more than most thought it would. Lucky for them JHam put in work. If our defense was the same as it was in 2020 we're probably looking at 1-3 with a loss to Richmond instead of 3-1 with a chance to win the Coastal. JHam is not getting enough credit for covering for BC's ass.



Is coronavirus over yet?

Okay, in the interest of discussion, I'll take what you've heard as fact. Given that, follow up question for TKP:

Would you prefer this change happen now, or in a few years, to give a little bit more time for JHam to get insight/experience into what it takes to be a head coach, as well as getting his reputation up for the purposes of attracting better coordinators/assistant coaches?

I'm torn on this, because on the one hand, I think this needs to be Fuente's last year. But I would be concerned that JHam lacks the cachet to hire good coaches at this time. Would another couple of years to earn/solidify a reputation as a great DC with head coach material help? I think undoubtedly they would. The question is how do you balance the two?


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

There are two risks here:

  1. Keep Fuente a few more seasons and risk continuing in the wrong direction, further alienating the fans and donors as well as failing to repair recruiting relationships with important stakeholders throughout the state
  2. Fire Fuente and Hire JHam and risk putting JHam in a position he's not ready for, leading to the continued downward spiral of the VT football program

The way I see it, the risk with both options is relatively the same. We know what we're going to get with Fuente. The only unknown is what potential JHam has. If I am to assume that, at worst, JHam's presumed failures amount to effectively the same as Fuente's proven failures then I role the dice with JHam. I know that Fuente is not going to improve the status of the VT football program. We have over 5 years of hard evidence to support this. We don't know that JHam would do better. We don't know that he wouldn't. Give him a shot. Best case, he does exactly what we need him to do and actually elevates this program the way Fuente was supposed to. Worst case, we continue the downward trend we're currently on and wind up in the same place we would by keeping Fuente.


I honestly see zero risk in firing Justin Fuente at this point. I just don't see one. Unless you hire a HC on the cheap that can't handle the job, there is no risk to VT football compared to where we are now. Recruiting might dip for a year, but it won't dip to 75th in the country- where we were 2 classes ago. Very little risk in the big picture, IMO

Eh...the risk to firing Fuente centers around who you hire to replace him. That's kind of where I'm going here. The specific question was do we fire Fuente and hire JHam now or wait a few years to groom JHam to take over in the future. I do think there is a risk to hiring JHam immediately but I think the potential benefits far outweigh the potential risks in that case. I think the risk to keeping Fuente is much, much greater but to say that firing him is zero risk is disingenuous hyperbole.


It's Time to go to Work

I think we're well aware of that and have 6 years of evidence!

Yes, the slow decay to sub-mediocre and fanbase apathy is a much better approach.

The inaction, inability to change, and declining quality of product sends the signal that a) they don't hear us b) they hear us and don't care. Dropping an OC who is clearly in over his head midseason, in a season where we'll be lucky to get 7 wins carries no risk. Appoint someone as interim OC, and show the fanbase that you're willing to do something! Edit: As it stands for the most part, the coaches act like there is no problem with what they are doing, and that we just don't know what we're talking about. That is unacceptable. Anyone with eyes and very basic grasp of football can see that there are glaring issues on the offensive side of the ball. Fix them, or move on to someone who can.

The bowl streak is dead, the UVA streak is dead, the Black Diamond trophy is in Morgantown, in a year when the ACC is up for grabs, we struggled against FCS Richmond (yes I remember what happened after JMU, this is not that team and these are not those coaches)...I'd rather fire Corn and finish with 4 or 5 wins and the team moving in the right direction than keep him, limp to 7 or 8 wins, hear coach talk about how good he really is...then repeat again next year when we're going somewhere around .500 again.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I'd rather fire Corn and finish with 4 or 5 wins and the team moving in the right direction

I have no idea how you could conclude that the team is moving in the right direction if we only have 4 or 5 wins (unless its the year after we have less wins.)

If we fire Corny today and only win 2 games the rest of the year, it would suggest the team is NOT heading in the right direction.

Firing Corn is having the team moving in the right direction. That is a verifiable fact. If we fire Corn and finish 3-9, I'll be feeling better about the future of the team than if we keep Corn and finish 7-5 and retain CornFu into 2022

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

What if the problem isn't Corn and is actually Fuente - then firing Corn does not get the team moving in the right direction. Just taking an action (i.e. replacing Corn with X) isn't guaranteed to right the ship, it has to be the right action. And if the data point is 3-9 (i.e we lose 8 straight after firing Corn) at best, the jury is still out, but likely the team is not moving in the right direction.

Whit would know better if the problem extends to Fuente. But I think Fuente, if he can unshackle himself from Corn, can be a successful HC. I would say replacing the OC would buy Fuente one more year with the head whistle (whether done midseason, or after the season). If Fuente is unwilling to do that, cut 'em both loose.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Win 8+ games, get a new OC and WR coach, field a better offense, win more games.

It's Time to go to Work

What if the problem isn't Corn and is actually Fuente - then firing Corn does not get the team moving in the right direction.

I listened to the Jerod interview and projecting that to today this was my takeaway too - that Fu is at the root of the issues.

lololol. keep your coach forever no matter what. Insane.

It's insane to think you could read his thread and think that was his point.

It's Time to go to Work

Let's look at the examples he uses in thread

Does Fuente check that box? Nope didn't inherit garbage. Inherited lots of NFL talent, once they were gone, the W's started slipping. Also note the part about Manny "making changes when needed, and showing he recognizes issues"...we don't get that benefit here. We get told that it is "ludicrous crap" to suggest Corn be relieved of play-calling duties.

To start with, Corn doesn't have the type of goodwill that comes with winning two natty's. Is it a super young offense with minimal depth the excuse? Nope...depth, maybe, to a degree, since they can't keep players in the program and develop them (best developmental program in the nation, amirite?).

4th coach in 6 years? Damn! We're not quite as bad as FSU, but those same 6 years with one coach, we're on the same trajectory. No one wants to start and endless cycle of hiring and firing coaches...but when the body of work points to a subpar product that shows signs of decline each and every year...its not just changing for the sake of changing. It's recognizing the problem and doing something about it. We had good records when we still had Beamer's players, so a part of the problem is evidently recruiting. I'm not the most knowledgeable X's and O's guy, but we've got some on this site who I trust when they say Corn's play calling is shit a lot of the time. So with Beamer's guys, was the talent level good enough to overcome the playcalling? I dunno, maybe. But with each and every year looking worse than the year before it, there is zero reason for me to believe that next year will be better.

If Hale was referencing Corn/Fu in this thread of his, you'd think he'd have used them in one of his examples. Oh wait...maybe he did reference them

You can have terrible coaches who, for a year or two, make things look good.

I do agree with that tweet completely. It's not just about results, it's about recruiting, it's about fan engagement, it's about alumni relations, etc.

And yes, I do believe the right people will *eventually* get the desired results at VT, but the first step towards that is getting the right people.

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

this is a much more eloquent breakdown of something I've been trying to say for a while now to refute the "don't just fire Fuente for the sake of it" arguments.

Fuente is in his 6th year. It's not like we're panicking in year 2 or 3. He's not the right person for this job. He's not going to *eventually* get the desired results. There is a mountain of evidence that shows Fuente isn't getting us there. There is no evidence showing that he is. Plain. Simple.


I think if we have option 3. Keep Fuente, Fire Corny and continue name JHam Assistant Head Coach and DC. He can continue to learn and prove himself. You have to remember he only has 4 years of experience in coaching.

You look to the Bama School of Coach Rehabilitation to see what the current crop has available to replace the OC and WR coaches this year.

But of the two strict options, I roll with JHam and guide him towards an experienced OC and DC.

But of the two strict options, I roll with JHam and guide him towards an experienced OC and DC.

This strategy requires JHam to outperform his experience and two home run hires at the Coordinator positions to be successful. The fact that JHam has little experience is going to make bringing in two home run hires at the Coordinator positions even more difficult. Does JHam even have the ability to recognize a home run hire at OC?

You're not going to bring people from Bama or the like to "lateral" to VT because its a step down. You might get a position coach to take a coordinator position, but then you've got someone who probably doesn't have the experience, just like the HC. That's a recipe for disaster.

That requires JHam to partner with his AD and learn from his AD. If Whit makes this move, he's not going to hang JHam out to dry. There will be plenty of mentoring if JHam accepts it and judging by how found his coaches were of him, I'm sure he will.

Any HC shortcomings JHam has will be excused for a while by the Tech Football community for a number of reasons, but mostly because no one doubts his dedication to, and love for Virginia Tech and Virginia Tech Football. He is, after all, one of us. We don't always realize what that means. My brother in-law made a humorous observation (he went to W&L). He said, "Y'all are more like a cult than a student body." Funny, but there is some truth to that.

I have confidence that JHam and Whit can work together to get VT Football back on the right track. The things JHam needs to learn about being an HC are teachable. The things he already has are not.

The things JHam needs to learn about being an HC are teachable. The things he already has are not.

I agree with this statement. I just don't think the fan base is going to have the patience for him to learn here.

That requires JHam to partner with his AD and learn from his AD.

I also agree that JHam can learn some "managerial" type things from Whit, but I don't think Whit is going to be able to help him get coordinators in here that will make him successful. Whit can open the purse strings, but does Whit have enough football acumen to help pick those homerun hires.

JHam will likely be a great HC someday but I think his trajectory if he's hired to replace Fuente after this year will be similar to CFB back in the day, except he'll be fired after year 6.

Whit brought in Jerry Kill. Why not?

Fuente brought in Jerry Kill because he had the relationship with him. Obviously, Whit approved it (and paid for it.)

And Jerry is not leaving Gary Patterson to work for JHam.

This would be the best option but it's not going to happen. Fuente has said explicitly, several times, that he is not going to part ways with Cornelsen, that Cornelsen is not at all a part of the problem, that Cornelsen is the only person on staff capable of helping fix the problems that we do have. Cornelsen isn't going to be fired so long as Justin Fuente is the Head Coach. This option is a non-starter. That's why we're not discussing it.


I'm not questioning the validity of you hearing that, just curious, if you're at liberty to say without revealing too much, where you heard that...folks within the program, close to the program, donors, podcasters?

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Solid points. While we are at it, Hokie Club should copy Clemson's IPTAY as well.


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

I think the Hokie Club has been improving.

I've got stickers to prove it. Sort of /s, but sort of not. I do see subtle changes in their approach, and a lot of them good.