Though the sign still reads “Frank Beamer, Head Football Coach,” Justin Fuente has taken over the big office overlooking the football practice facilities at Virginia Tech. On Thursday afternoon, a relaxed Fuente, wearing his usual mix of khaki pants and cowboy boots, met with members of the media to discuss everything from his coaching staff to recruiting.
Bud Foster Will Coach Linebackers
When the announcement that Galen Scott had been added to the coaching staff was released earlier this week, it said that Scott would coach Virginia Tech’s linebackers. Apparently that release was not accurate.
“Bud’s gonna coach the linebackers. Coach Foster’s role is not changing,” Fuente said. “The defensive staff is currently working through how we want it to look. Galen’s going to work with the defensive front.”
Foster will also have a new title: Associate Head Coach. Though Scott’s exact role has not been determined, he has experience in the past working with all positions on defense, and he’s also served as a defensive coordinator. He will also hold the title of Assistant Head Coach.
Fuente has been pleased with how the coaching staff has meshed thus far.
“They’ve all hit it off, like I knew they would, really really well.”
Virginia Will be a Priority in Recruiting
Virginia Tech hasn’t done quite as well with the top ranked prospects in the state over the past few years. Fuente made it known that the new staff will make in-state recruits a priority.
“We’re going to make Virginia a priority,” he said. “I believe every coach on our staff is going to have a piece of Virginia.”
Bryan Stinespring, Cornell Brown and Zohn Burden handled the 757 this past year, with Bud Foster and Torrian Gray splitting northern Virginia. Shane Beamer recruited Richmond. With the new staff only being finalized earlier this week, it hasn’t been determined which areas each coach will handle.
“We’re in the process of finishing up this class and building up towards the next class,” Fuente said. “We will obviously have areas. We met on it today. [Director of Player Personnel] Chuck Cantor is doing a fantastic job spearheading our efforts and getting it all organized.”
Establishing relationships with high school coaches around the state will be key. Fuente knows that, and he already has plans in place to cultivate those relationships.
“We’re going to do some things in the spring to reach out to those high school coaches as well to make sure that we do develop those relationships,” he said. “We need to make sure we’re accessible. I believe in coaches coaching coaches. It’s our job to not just recruit athletes, but it’s our job to service these high school coaches in terms of helping them schematically.”
The schedule for Virginia Tech’s junior days and camps has not been set at this point in time. However, with the staff back to work full-time since the Holidays are over, those decisions should be made soon.
“We’ve had a lot of those discussions [about recruiting events and camps],” Fuente said. “I wouldn’t say the decisions have been made, but we’ve had a lot of talk. All those things are on the table right now for our discussions for how we want to handle it in terms of junior days, our camp stuff. There’s some great advantages, and then some challenges that we’ll have to address.”
Fuente is pleased with the the reception he and his assistants have gotten on the recruiting trail during his first month on the job.
“The response we’ve gotten has been overwhelmingly positive,” Tech’s new head coach noted. “People are genuinely excited. I think people realize we are keeping some of the great things, and we are getting a little bit new. I think people have been drawn to that, and they are curious about that.”
The next Contact Period will begin on January 14, per NCAA rules.
A New Strength and Conditioning Coach
Mike Gentry has retired as Virginia Tech’s head strength and conditioning coach. Fuente acknowledged the impact that Gentry has made at Virginia Tech, as well as throughout the whole strength and conditioning industry.
“As far as what I’m looking for, we’ve got a similar situation in the weight room,” he said. “We’re replacing a legend who is very well-respected.”
Besides building muscle mass and athletic ability, the job of the strength and conditioning coach is to instill discipline.
“We need somebody with the self confidence to be themselves and pay tribute to the past, but also do it their way,” Fuente said. “We’re going to look for a guy who demands discipline as soon as you walk through the door.”
Fuente is very close to making the hire, and we could potentially have news as early as next week.
“I’m optimistic that something will come out maybe by the first of next week. We’re just jumping through all the hoops, HR wise.”