For Justin Fuente, 18 Important Months Lie Ahead

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Justin Fuente
Justin Fuente listens to a reporter’s question at the 2019 ACC Football Kickoff in Charlotte. (Will Stewart)

To be clear, this is not an article about Justin Fuente’s job security. It’s not a clickbait “IS JUSTIN FUENTE ON THE HOT SEAT?” production. This is about Fuente’s standing with the Virginia Tech fan base, and the mindset and engagement of that fan base. In short, 18 months from now, will we be excited, or will the mood be one big collective yawn … or worse?

The reason Fuente’s job isn’t on the line is two-fold. Number one, his buyout is large for the next few years. If I’m interpreting this article correctly, Fuente’s current buyout is $15 million, and it “drops” to $12.5 million on Dec. 15, 2019. On Dec. 15, 2020, it goes to $10 million. On Dec. 15, 2021, it becomes $7.5 million.

The buyout doesn’t become palatable, in my opinion, until late 2021, and even $7.5 million is a big nut for Virginia Tech to crack. Just looking at the finances, Justin Fuente will coach Virginia Tech through at least the 2021 season. That’s three more seasons (2019-2021), so to suggest that anything the team does in 2019