Stats & Figures Prove Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente Is One of The Most Underrated & Underappreciated Coaches in College Football

Sean Labar

Great college football coaches don't come around often. Names like Nick Saban and Urban Meyer resonate almost immediately. Then there are the young savants, poised for greatness like Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley. 

While nobody will argue Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente belongs in the upper-tier of the FBS ranks, there's been a strange, almost surreal disconnect between the fan base and Fuente over the years. For a coach who has had multiple requests to interview for vacancies at bigger programs, one would think Hokie Nation would be grateful for its leader. 

Shockingly, that hasn't been the case. It's a fan base that's hot and cold on Fuente, but certainly divided. 

It certainly feels like the Virginia Tech head coach is revered on the national level and here are some numbers that point to why many Hokies' fans take Fuente for granted. 

Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente 

- 33-20 overall record at VT, 20-12 in ACC,  (59-43)  career record as FBS HC

- Fuente is second in the ACC in wins for a coach after four seasons (33) only to Clemson's Dabo Swinney (36) 

- 4 consecutive Bowl appearances to extend Virginia Tech's streak to 27, the longest active Bowl streak in the nation

- Fuente's 33 wins in his first four seasons in Blacksburg are the most of any VT head football coach in program history 

- In just four seasons in Blacksburg, Fuente earned ACC Coach of the Year Honors twice  (2014,2016)- The Hokies have finished in the Top 25 twice in Fuente’s three seasons at the helm in Blacksburg. 

- Tech finished the 2016 season ranked No. 16 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll and concluded the 2017 season at No. 24 in the AP Top 25 and No. 25 in the Coaches Poll

- The Hokies have produced the top three passing seasons in school history since Fuente and offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen arrived at Tech - 2016 (261.4 ypg), 2018 (253.8 ypg) and 2017 (239.5 yp

Fuente boasts a 19-7 record at home in Lane Stadium & a 12-8 record on the road while at VT


Fuente's prowess for developing quarterbacks and maximizing their potential can't be understated. He's leaned on four different starting QBs in each of his four seasons at VT and the results are astounding 

Under Fuente's guidance and offensive system, the JUCO transfer set VT single-season records for TD passes (29), passing yards (3,546) and total offense (4,392) in 2016.

Josh Jackson (2017) 
Set a VT freshman single-season and led all FBS freshmen with 2,991 yards in 2017, while his 20 TD passes, 135.2 rating, 59.6 completion percentage and 255.0 ypg of total offense ranked second nationally among FBS freshmen. 

Ryan Willis (2018)
Finished 2018 with 24 TD passes, the second-best seasonal mark in VT history. His 226.3 passing ypg ranked fourth, while his 3,070 yards of total offense ranked seventh. 

Hendon Hooker (2019)
After making the bold decision, the Hokies' entire team was ignited winning 6 of its final 8 games and positioning Fuente's unit to com

pete for the ACC Coastal crown after a lackluster start. In just 8 starts under center, Hooker fnished 2018 with 24 TD passes, the second-best seasonal mark in VT history. His 226.3 passing ypg ranked fourth, while his 3,070 yards of total offense ranked seventh. 



  • Compiled a 19-6 record in his final two seasons at Memphis, guiding the Tigers to back-to-back bowl berths after inheriting a program that went 5-31 in three years before his arrival.
  • Unanimous selection as 2014 American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year when he led Memphis to its first conference title since 1971.
  • Guided Memphis to a 15-game winning streak that included a 37-24 win over No. 13 Ole Miss (10/17/15).
  • Memphis posted a 9-3 regular season mark in 2015, capped by a 63-0 win vs. SMU in Fuente’s finale as the Tigers’ head coach.
  • The Tigers concluded a 10-3 season in 2014 with a 55-48 double-OT triumph over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl, the first 10-win season for the Tigers since 1938.
  • Fuente’s final game as Memphis head coach was a 63-0 win vs. SMU (11/28/15). QB Paxton Lynch tied an FBS record with seven touchdown passes in the first half of that game. Lynch threw for a school-record 28 TD passes on the 2015 season.
  • Memphis outscored its opponents by an average margin of 20.7 points per game during a run of 15 consecutive wins from 2014-15, scoring 652 points (43.5 ppg), while allowing only 341 (22.7 ppg).
  • Memphis scored 471 points in 2014, shattering the old school record of 430 points set in 2004, while allowing a mere 19.5 points per game, a figure that ranked 11th among FBS squads.
  • The Tigers went +11 (31 takeaways/20 giveaways) in the turnover column in 2014, finishing the campaign ranked in both the AP Top 25 and in the USA Today/Amway Coaches Polls, a first in school history.
Comments (6)
No. 1-5

You can make Fuente a success or a failure depending on what numbers you emphasize but the large numbers of transfers is the most concerning to me. As far as his personality goes, he's not a warm fuzzy extrovert like Dabo. Justin is very much the introvert. But there have been very successful football coaches on both sides of that spectrum. And don't forget, it took Frank Beamer 6 years to produce a winner. As far as recruiting goes, Beamer was not competing against a perennial powerhouse Clemson until the last few years of his tenure in which we saw a perceptible decline in the VT program. Give Fuente some more time. I think things have hit bottom and are starting to look up.

Hokie Mark
Hokie Mark

As Hokies, our memory of Frank Beamer's tenure is better than reality, I think... Beamer was 29-23 in his last 4 seasons (0.558), while Fuente is 33-20 (0.622) in his first 4 seasons. Also, Beamer's best record in the final four seasons was 8-5, while Fuente was 8-5 last year and won more than 8 twice already. Yes, he's being outrecruited in state - but Beamer was recruiting against a down UVA, down Maryland, and Penn State on probation; Fuente's competition is much tougher.

None of this is proof that Fuente will ultimately pan out the way Hokie fans hope - but there's absolutely no reason to run him out of Blacksburg at this point - he has already improved the football team and may take it even higher if given the chance.


Most of your stats are average numbers - do better research


Let's really break down the facts on why we don't like Fuente
*that record is propped up by 1 ten win season (in 2016)
*He has yet to beat a top 10 team
*In state recruiting has gotten consistantly worse since he became coach as evidenced by landing only ONE in state recruit in 2020
*that 4 straight bowl game stat is true BUT his record in said bowl games 1-3 with 3 straight losses
*the further away from Beamer's recurits he's gotten, the worse his teams have become
*He leads the nation in transfers
*He's no QB whisperer, he's been in town 4 years and has had 4 QBs with 2 starters leaving the program to get away from his incompetence
*Not hard to set school passing records when compared to the previous staffs offensive approach

If you're going to lay it out lay it all out.


Definitely a good coach, but his teams had gotten worse by year up until this past one, and he definitely didn’t win acc coach of the year in 2014 as he was still at Memphis. Fuente also has a outward personality to the media that makes fans not like him.