Justin Fuente has turned down the opportunity to coach at programs like LSU and Florida State in recent years. His success at Virginia Tech has opened the eyes of athletic directors across the country, and that interest has pushed the Hokies to offer yet another contract extension to Fuente.
Virginia Tech announced on Tuesday that Fuente and the Hokies had agreed to another contract extension, Fuente’s second in as many seasons. The agreement extends Fuente’s current contract one more year through 2024, and increases Fuente’s financial compensation to $4 million for 2018 and 2019.
“We are very committed to Coach Fuente and his staff on a long-term basis,” said director of athletics Whit Babcock in a statement. “He has been very loyal and is a tremendous fit at Virginia Tech. We believe in further solidifying the upward trajectory of our football program by investing in him, as well as the wonderful coaches and staff surrounding him. We are pleased to provide additional support staff and resources to our football program.”
“Jenny and our three daughters are very fortunate to call Blacksburg and Virginia Tech our home,” Fuente said in a statement. “Ensuring that we were able to retain and reward our very talented and dedicated assistant coaching staff was very important to me. The loyalty and dedication of our assistant coaches and support team is unwavering. I’m very appreciative of the additions and enhancements we are making to our facilities and support staff. I’m very proud to be a Hokie!”
For the 2017 season, Justin Fuente was the 33rd-highest paid coach in college football among public schools, according to the USA Today’s coaching salary database. Fuente’s 2018 figure of $4 million would have placed him at No. 21 among 2017 coaching salaries.
Here is the salary breakdown for Fuente’s new contract at Virginia Tech.
2018: $4 million total ($3.4 million in base salary and two $300,000 retention bonuses)
2019: $4 million total ($3.5 million in base salary and two $250,000 retention bonuses)
2020: $4.25 million total ($3.65 million in base salary and two $300,000 bonuses)
2021: $4.25 million total ($3.75 million in base salary and two $250,000 bonuses)
2022: $4.5 million total ($3.9 million in base salary and two $300,000 bonuses)
2023: $4.5 million total ($4.0 million in base salary and two $250,000 bonuses)
2024: $5 million total ($4.5 million in base salary and two $250,000 bonuses)
Here are the buyout numbers in Fuente’s contract, with the number first being if Virginia Tech were to fire Fuente without cause. The second number is the buyout on Fuente’s contract if he were to leave Virginia Tech on his own accord.
2018: $15 million, $5 million
2019: $15 million, $3 million
2020: $12.5 million, $1 million
2021: $10 million, $750,000
2022: $7.5 million, $500,000
2023: $5 million, $500,000
2024: $2 million, zero
The buyout figures, on both sides, decrease on Dec. 15 of each year.
Along with an extension for Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech has granted pay raises for all of Fuente’s assistant coaches. Fuente has also named safeties coach and assistant head coach Galen Scott as co-defensive coordinator. Here are the updated salaries for each of Virginia Tech’s assistant coaches.
Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster: $975,000
Offensive Coordinator Brad Cornelsen: $490,000
Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach James Shibest: $445,000
Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach Galen Scott: $338,000
Defensive Line Coach Charley Wiles: $280,000
Cornerbacks Coach Brian Mitchell: $280,000
Offensive Line Coach Vance Vice: $280,000
Wide Receivers Coach Holmon Wiggins: $280,000
Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Hilgart: $280,000
Running Backs Coach Zohn Burden: $280,000
Executive Director of Player Development Adam Lichtenberg: $175,000
Per Virginia Tech, the Hokies’ assistant coaching salary pool of $3.8 million is third in the ACC, only behind Clemson and Florida State.
Under Fuente, the Virginia Tech football program has seen a resurgence. The Hokies are 19-8 since the 2016 season, when Fuente was hired, and are 11-5 in the ACC. Virginia Tech won the Coastal Division of the ACC in 2016, and finished second to Miami in 2017.