Virginia Tech Adds Darryl Tapp and Tracy Claeys To Coaching Staff

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Darryl Tapp, Virginia Tech
Darryl Tapp was officially added to the Virginia Tech coaching staff on Friday. (Jon Fleming)

Virginia Tech announced the hiring of Tracy Claeys as linebackers coach and former Hokie defensive lineman Darryl Tapp as a general defensive assistant in a press release on Friday afternoon.

“We’ve wanted to find a way to bring Darryl Tapp back into our program for some time,” Justin Fuente said. “If there is one former player who I’ve consistently heard Bud Foster use as an example of what it means to play defense at Virginia Tech, it’s Darryl Tapp. I know Coach Hamilton feels the same way about Darryl. He’s spent the past two seasons at Vanderbilt and Central Michigan preparing to take the next step in his coaching career. With his ties to the 757 region and his NFL experience, Darryl will be another great addition to our staff.” 

Tapp played in the NFL for 12 seasons, finishing his career with 29 sacks.  He had stints with the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  He has spent the last two years on the coaching staffs at Central Michigan and Vanderbilt.

“It’s great to be coming home to Virginia Tech,” Tapp said. “I always dreamed of playing at Virginia Tech and being drafted in the NFL. Both of those dreams became realities. Then as my playing days were coming to end, I knew I wanted to eventually get into coaching. In the back of my head, I thought how cool it would be if I ever got a chance to coach at Virginia Tech and share all the lessons I’ve learned over the years. I’m grateful to Coach Fuente for this opportunity and I can’t wait to get started with he and Coach Hamilton.” 

Tapp will in effect serve as Virginia Tech’s 10th assistant coach, and is expected to help out with the defensive line, though a full-time defensive line coach will also be added soon.

Claeys will coach Virginia Tech’s linebackers.  He served as Jerry Kill’s defensive coordinator at Minnesota, and took over as the head coach there when Kill retired for health reasons.

“I’m excited to welcome Tracy to Blacksburg,” Fuente said. “Tracy is an outstanding football coach who will serve as another great resource for me, Justin Hamilton and our entire coaching staff. Coach Claeys’ track record as a defensive coach, a recruiter and his longtime association with Jerry Kill were among on the many reasons we wanted him to join us at Virginia Tech. We’re enthusiastic about adding Tracy’s expertise and leadership to our team.” 

“I appreciate Coach Fuente offering me the opportunity to coach at Virginia Tech, a place where there has been such a great history of winning football,” Claeys said. “I’m eager to do everything I can to help Coach Fuente, Coach Hamilton and this staff build on the tradition of tough, hard-nosed football that coaches across the nation associate with Virginia Tech. I’m also excited to continue working with Jerry Kill, who is one of the finest football men I’ve ever been associated with in this game.” 

With Tapp and Claeys hired, the Virginia Tech coaching staff now looks like this…

QB/OC: Brad Cornelsen
RB: Adam Lechtenberg
WR: Jafar Williams
TE/ST: James Shibest
OL: Vance Vice
LB: Tracy Claeys
S/DC: Justin Hamilton
10th Asst: Darryl Tapp

Click here for a link to the full press release.

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47 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It still makes me wonder why Claeys would take a job as LB coach, after being a head coach, and
    a DC. Seems to be a couple steps down on the coaching ladder. Plus, how long will he stay until a better job opens up somewhere. I have always loved the stability of our coaches, and wonder about his long term potential.

    1. Look how many of Alabama’s coaches have NFL coaching experience and/or head football coaching experience.
      1) Steve Sarkisian – Atlanta Falcons Offensive coordinator and head coach of Southern California and Washington Huskies
      2) Brian Baker – 18 years coaching defensive line or outside linebackers with Chargers, Lions, Vikings, Rams, Panthers, Cowboys, Browns, and Redskins
      3) Kyle Flood – 2 years coaching offensive line with Atlanta Falcons, 4 years head coach at Rutgers
      4) Sal Sunseri – 3 seasons spent as Oakland Raiders linebackers coach, 6 years as defensive line coach with the Carolina Panthers

  2. Glad to see a change in defensive personal. Hope they will be able to stop 3rd and long. We have given up too many big plays over the last 5 or 6 years. 3rd and 25 and Defense gives up 32. Maybe Hamilton will have a solution for this.

  3. Are we sure Claeys is someone that we want? There was some very nasty work back in Minnesota and I am not at all easy with how he conducted himself. I would just as soon that the crap from there not run a train wreck on the Virginia Tech program.

      1. What does that have to do with anything? Claeys made some very obtuse moves when some of his players ran a rape train on a girl..

        You answer like that? You are an idiot

        1. Can you link to anything specific about Claeys? The incident is gross but I don’t think it mentioned him.

        1. Well done! That is an accomplishment that should be the norm instead of the pervasive perception that all kids should attend a university. Although my kids are 3rd generation VT grads, I would have reservations about them attending these days unless they were going to study engineering, architecture, veterinary medicine, or some other stem field for the reasons you mention…as well as the schools seeming trend toward indoctrination rather than education. If that is true about the rape incident, then I would have to agree that would be an unacceptable and repugnant choice.

  4. Appears to be great hires. Cleays opens up the the upper midwest as a recruiting territory. We get a few from there, i.e., Patterson, but he has a lot of years recruiting in that part of the country. As much as I would like to have former Tech players on the coaching staff, I think two out of five defensive coaches may be enough unless, in addition to good coaching ability, they have strong recruiting ties in our major pipeline from the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida or possibly Northern Virginia, Maryland and Pa. I am not sure how much recruiting power has been lost in these areas with the departure of the four coaches.

  5. The coaching news just keeps getting better and better in Bburg. Welcome back Darryl and welcome home to both Darryl and Tracy- awesome!

  6. really like the strategy.

    I have said this for years, we start getting future NFL d-linemen at tech, we starting challenging the blue chips.

    VAnce proved we can get blue chip olinemen and identify overlooked recruits that turn into P5 starters.
    Fuente can pull receivers and QBs.

  7. Some were calling for Tracey Claeys to be the DC, so to have him as a position coach is a guy who has been DC coaching a position, great hires. Obviously, Fuente loves the known over the unknown. He trusts himself and the experiences with guys from TCU. Memphis and VT. He trusts Kill’a opinion. Load up with talented guys that have connections…great hires so far

    1. People were calling for Claeys to be DC?!? Those people need to find a new home because a guy who resigned from a PAC -12 school because his defense couldn’t stop anyone (see UCLA score) is not someone that needs to be patrolling a sideline at Virginia Tech. Not sure what the “strategy” everyone is talking about here but seems kind of hap hazard IMHO. Hope I’m wrong and this works out great!

      1. Please. Duke put up 42 on Bud and Pitt and GT destroyed him last year.

        Point being those were outliers. Look at Claeys entire body of work.

  8. I really like the strategy here with these hires so far. With limited $$$ we are assembling a staff with a nice mixture of experience in coaching and up and coming hungry former players that have ties to certain recruiting areas. (Tapp 757) It is all about recruiting and the top recruits want to see guys from schools that have been successful in the League and be coached by them and mentored by them. Add Prunty (more experience & VA ties) along with another former player and NFL standout in Brandon Flowers (Fla recruiting, NFL DB and played in our system as arguably the best) and I think we have a staff that will be excellent for developing NFL talent. Not to mention having Bud in the background. I love this model on defense, hope we see some strides on offense.

    1. Plus Tapp doesn’t need any money after 12 years in the NFL, and he doesn’t strike me as a guy who’d squander cash like some do.

  9. I really like the direction we are going. Chris Coleman hit the nail on the head – CJF not satisfied with being #2 in ACC! He has seen what being surrounded by strong coaches did for Dabo and wants to go toe to toe! Let’s go!

    1. That’s a call back to Torrian Grays preferred technique with the idea being you lose a step when you turn your head.

  10. Didn’t Chris just mention it would be nice to have Tapp in the Tech Coaching ranks? It seems others thought Darryl would be a good asset. I have an Eagles jersey with his name and number. He was one of my favorites on the D-line.

  11. While it’s great to welcome back former Hokie greats as coaches, I am a little concerned with the lack of coaching experience. Sure hope they are all great recruiters as well as coaches

      1. WHile i agree with you, uvabasher may not have been talking about EVERY SINGLE coach. uvabasher is a savvy poster. He knows Claeys has experience

    1. Playing 12 seasons on six different teams, I think Tapp has seen his share of coaching and will bring the best of it back with him to VT. Welcome home DT!

      1. Try Midget, Gray, Prioleau…. then bring in assistants Johnson, Banks, Drakeford, Green, and a host of other so we can have 1-on-1 coaching. One coach for each player!

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