Justin James Fuente (born July 30, 1976) is an American football coach and former player. He is the head football coach at Virginia Tech. He was the 2016 ACC Coach of the Year. Fuente was the head football coach at the University of Memphis from 2012 to 2015. He was an assistant at Texas Christian University from 2007 to 2011 and previously at Illinois State University from 2001 to 2006. Fuente attended the University of Oklahoma before transferring to Murray State University after his redshirt sophomore season. He played quarterback for both schools. Fuente played a single season with the Oklahoma Wranglers of the Arena Football League.
Fuente in 2018
|Annual salary||$4 million|
|Born||July 30, 1976|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|2001–2003||Illinois State (QB)|
|2004–2006||Illinois State (OC/QB)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
Fuente has coached quarterbacks as an assistant or head coach including three time Pro Bowler Andy Dalton, first round draft pick Paxton Lynch, and arena football quarterback Jerod Evans (the current Virginia Tech record holder in total offense in a season, most passes completed, most touchdowns thrown, most touchdowns thrown in a game, most passing yards, and highest completion percentage).
Fuente was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Justin married his wife Jenny in 2005 and they have 3 daughters.
Fuente attended Union High School in Tulsa, where he threw for 6,104 yards and 65 touchdowns. In 1994, his senior season he led the state in both passing yards (2,934) and touchdown passes (32). Statewide recognition followed, with the Tulsa World naming him "Player of the Year" and The Oklahoman "All-State Offensive Player of the Year.". Several schools recruited Fuente, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Texas A&M, but he ultimately signed with Oklahoma under coach Howard Schnellenberger in February 1995.
Fuente redshirted at Oklahoma for the 1995 season behind Eric Moore at quarterback. Following the season, Schnellenberger resigned as head coach and John Blake replaced him. Entering the 1996 season, Fuente backed up Moore. However, after Oklahoma opened the season with a loss to TCU, Blake named Fuente the starting quarterback. Fuente started the next eight games and compiled a 3–5 record before losing his starting position to Moore following the victory over Oklahoma State. For the year, Fuente completed 91 of 196 passes for 1,271 yards with ten interceptions and eight touchdowns. Fuente entered the 1997 season as the starting quarterback, but started only five games, winning two and losing three. Following the season, he transferred to Division I-AA Murray State University where he would be able to compete in the 1998 season. Fuente amassed 2,289 yards with the Sooners.
At Murray State, Fuente was named the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and a finalist for the Walter Payton Award following the 1999 season. He still holds several single-season records at Murray State for a quarterback including: most pass completions (240), highest pass efficiency (151.21), most passing yards (3,497), and most touchdown passes (27). Following his graduation from Murray, Fuente signed a contract with the Oklahoma Wranglers of the Arena Football League.
In May 2000, Fuente signed a contract with the Wranglers as their third-string quarterback. After seeing limited action, in the 2000 season and into the 2001 season, Fuente left the team in May 2001 in order to pursue a college coaching position at Illinois State University.
Following his playing career, Fuente began his coaching career as the quarterbacks coach at Illinois State University in 2001. There he worked under Denver Johnson, who he played for when Johnson was an assistant coach at Oklahoma and as head coach at Murray State. After three years, Fuente was promoted to offensive coordinator, and he served in that position through the end of 2006 season when he accepted the quarterbacks coach position at TCU. At TCU, he was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2009, and under his guidance both helped develop Andy Dalton at quarterback and lead the Horned Frogs to an undefeated season and victory in the 2011 Rose Bowl.
The University of Memphis named Fuente its head coach on December 8, 2011, replacing Larry Porter. After the Tigers opened the 2012 season with only one win over their first nine games, Fuente led Memphis on a three-game winning streak to close the season and finish with an overall record of four wins and eight losses (4–8). In February 2013, Memphis extended the term of Fuente's contract through the 2017 season as a result of the gains he made in his first year as head coach of the Tigers.
Fuente's 2014 team captured a share of the American Athletic Conference championship, compiling a 7–1 conference record and 9–3 overall regular season record. This was the Tigers' first conference championship since winning the Missouri Valley Conference in 1971. The team defeated BYU in the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl in double overtime, giving Fuente his first 10-win season and the Tigers' first 10-win season since 1938. The Tigers finished the season ranked No. 25 in both the AP and the Coaches Polls. Fuente was named a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award. Fuente's contract was extended and he received a raise at the close of the 2014 season for a total of a 5-year deal at approximately $1.4 million per year.
Virginia Tech named Fuente its head coach on November 29, 2015, replacing the retiring Frank Beamer. In his first season in Blacksburg, Fuente led the Hokies to a 9-3 regular season record and a trip to the ACC Championship, representing the Coastal division. Fuente won the 2016 ACC Coach of the Year following the regular season. The Hokies defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 35-24 in the 2016 Belk Bowl, overturning a 24-0 deficit at halftime and winning three consecutive bowl games for the first time in the program's history. Virginia Tech finished the season ranked #16 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. On April 3, 2017, Fuente and Virginia Tech agreed to a contract extension through 2023.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Memphis Tigers (Conference USA) (2012)|
|Memphis Tigers (American Athletic Conference) (2013–2015)|
|2014||Memphis||10–3||7–1||T–1st||W Miami Beach||25||25|
|Memphis:||26–23||17–15||* Did not coach bowl game|
|Virginia Tech Hokies (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2016–present)|
|2016||Virginia Tech||10–4||6–2||1st (Coastal)||W Belk||16||16|
|2017||Virginia Tech||9–4||5–3||2nd (Coastal)||L Camping World||25||24|
|2018||Virginia Tech||6–7||4–4||T–3rd (Coastal)||L Military|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
Assistant coaches under Justin Fuente who became NCAA head coaches:
- "Murray State University Board Report: Undergraduate Degrees Conferred" (PDF). December 16, 1999.
- "Justin Fuente accepts ACC Coach of the Year award".
- Adelson, Andrea (March 16, 2016). "How pro wrestling shaped the life of Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente". ESPN. Retrieved September 8, 2018.
- Hersom, Bob (January 23, 1995). "QB Fuente makes his choice: OU". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK. p. 9.
- Helsley, John (December 18, 1994). "Fuente, McQuarters capture honors". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK. p. 9.
- Hines, Kelly (January 25, 2011). "Former Union, OU quarterback Justin Fuente moving up coaching ladder". Tulsa World. Archived from the original on January 30, 2011. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- O'Kane, Dan (January 2, 1996). "Fuente eager to talk with Blake". Tulsa World. p. B2.
- O'Kane, Dan (September 11, 1996). "Fuente's it: No. 1 QB". Tulsa World. p. B1.
- O'Kane, Dan (November 12, 1996). "OU tabs Moore as starting QB". Tulsa World. p. B1.
- Hersom, Bob (August 7, 1997). "Fuente knows the cure for Sooner ills". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK. p. 23.
- O'Kane, Dan (October 15, 1997). "Sooners will start Moore". Tulsa World. p. 23.
- Hersom, Bob (January 7, 1998). "Sooners' Fuente transferring to Kentucky school". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK. p. 23.
- 2011 Murray State Football Media Guide. Murray, Kentucky: MSU Athletics Department. 2011. p. 105. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- "Wednesday's Sports Transactions". NewsLibrary.com. Associated Press. May 25, 2000. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- Kramer, Bill (May 24, 2000). "Ex-Sooner Fuente, Wranglers reach deal". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK.
- Munn, Scott (May 13, 2001). "AFL game Aikman's first". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City, OK.
- Reinhardt, Randy (February 16, 2007). "ISU offensive coordinator takes job with TCU". The Pantagraph. Bloomington-Normal, IL. Retrieved December 7, 2011.
- "Justin Fuente is Memphis' new coach". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 8, 2011. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
- Stukenborg, Phil (November 24, 2012). "Memphis Tigers clobber Southern Miss for third straight win". The Commercial Appeal. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved December 9, 2011.
- "Memphis extends Justin Fuente". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 13, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- Weber, Mark (November 29, 2014). "Tigers clinch share of AAC title with 41-10 win". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Memphis wins Miami Beach Bowl, then brawls with BYU". USA Today. Associated Press. December 22, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- Milner, Grant (December 8, 2014). "Fuente one of eight finalists for Eddie Robinson Award". 247Sports.com. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- Thamel, Pete (December 18, 2014). "Memphis, Justin Fuente agree to new five-year contract starting at $1.4M". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
- "Virginia Tech officially names Justin Fuente head football coach. In his first season with the Hokies, he led the team to an ACC Coastal championship". Hokiesports. November 29, 2015.
- "Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente agrees to extension through '23". ESPN.com.