Virginia Tech, coach Justin Fuente part ways in sixth season: What’s next as Hokies begin coaching search

Coach Justin Fuente is out at Virginia Tech before completing his sixth season with the program. The Hokies on Tuesday announced a mutual parting of ways with the coach who led the team to a 43-31 (28-20 ACC) record since 2016.

Co-defensive line coach J.C. Price will serve as the interim coach for the remainder of the 2021 season. Athletic director Whit Babcock will hold a press conference at 10:45 a.m. ET to discuss the move.

Fuente, 45, took over at Virginia Tech in 2016 fresh off winning 19 games in his last two seasons at Memphis. He was considered one of the hottest up-and-coming coaches, a modern offensive mind who was a coup for a Hokies program looking to replace the legendary Frank Beamer.

After seeing success over his first two seasons — Virginia Tech went 19-8 (11-5 ACC) finishing among the top two teams in the Coastal both years — Fuente and the program quickly fell on tough times. Virginia Tech is a combined 24-23 (17-15 ACC) in the four seasons since without a single bowl game victory.

Virginia Tech beat then-No. 10 North Carolina to open the 2021 season, but things turned south soon after the Hokies rose to No. 15 in the AP Top 25 following a Week 2 win over Middle Tennessee. They lost a 27-21 heartbreaker at West Virginia the following week to begin a stretch of five losses in seven games that torpedoed their chances of competing in a wide open ACC.

The Hokies also have the 20th ranked class in the 247Sports Composite team rankings for the upcoming recruiting cycle, and at 5-5 (3-3 ACC) this season, need to win at least one of their final two road games at Miami and Virginia just to go bowling. 

Fuente will be owed a $10 million buyout. That would have decreased by $2.5 million after Dec. 16, but things are moving…

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