Virginia Tech seemed to have it all figured out when it hired Justin Fuente, who rebuilt the Memphis program, to replace legend Frank Beamer. Fast forward a few years, and after a solid start, Fuente’s tenure in Blacksburg has really hit the skids.
After a 10-4 year in 2016 to start hit time with Tech, and a 9-4 second season, things have taken a rough turn. Since the start of the 2018 season, the team is just 22-22, with two losing seasons.
Virginia Tech got off to a fast start this year, beating No. 10 North Carolina and then Middle Tennessee to start the year. Now, they’ve lost four of five games, including today’s shootout with Syracuse, another team with a coach at the brink, 41-36.
The Hokies gave up 21 fourth quarter points to fall to the Orange in Lane Stadium. After the game, fans and media members have renewed speculation about Fuente’s job, which has been hanging in the balance for a few years here.
Virginia Tech lost at home to Syracuse. Justin Fuente was already on the Dash hot-seat watch. Now hotter: https://t.co/02H0NlVicY
— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) October 23, 2021
Good news for Justin Fuente is most of America missed that ending because they’d gone into a coma watching Penn State-Illinois.
— 💫🅰️♈️🆔 (@ADavidHaleJoint) October 23, 2021
Lordy, Virginia Tech has blown it against Syracuse. Might really be the end for Fuente now. They were up two scores a few minutes ago.
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 23, 2021
A Justin Fuente special for the Hokies.
snatching defeat from the hands of victory.
— Jeff or Jeffrey Fann (@TalkinACCSports) October 23, 2021
According to those at Lane Stadium, a “Fire Fuente” chant broke out. It’s hard to recover when things get that bad.
The Fire Fuente chant is now stadium wide and Whit Babcock just walked off the field and into the tunnel
— Mark Boomansky (@markumansky) October 23, 2021
#Hokies The "Fire Fuente" chants kicked in almost instantly in the stands…after a moment of not-so-stunned silence
— Aaron McFarling (@aaronmcfarling) October 23, 2021
“Fire Fuente” chants at Lane. Wow
— Brandon Lloyd (@blloyd8298) October 23, 2021
Whit Babcock knows the advantages of running an in-season search. Seems like now’s the time
— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) October 23, 2021
A few days ago, Sports Illustrated‘s Pat Forde wrote about the seat heating up on Fuente, after an ugly 28-7 loss to Pitt.
There simply isn’t any appreciable momentum in Year 6 under Justin Fuente. After going 19–8 his first two seasons at Tech, Fuente’s record is 22–21. The Hokies are just another part of the eternal ACC Coastal Division muddle, perfectly ordinary, averaging 29.3 points and giving up 27.8 over those last 43 games, treading water, neither sinking nor swimming. Athletic director Whit Babcock is a patient man, but patience with Fuente no longer is shared by a hefty percentage of Virginia Tech fans
Virginia Tech may no longer be a true national power, but fans at least expect to be in the mix in the ACC Coastal more often than not. The Hokies won the division in Fuente’s first year, but not since, finishing tied for sixth last year. At 3-4 (1-2), they’re currently in fifth.