Monday was a big day for Virginia Tech head football coach Justin Fuente. After just his first year leading the Hokies on the gridiron, Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock had seen enough to know that VT couldn't let Fuente get away. With that in mind, Babcock signed Fuente to a contract extension that will see him remain in Blacksburg through the 2023 season.
Fuente's first season was roundly considered a success after a 10-4, Belk Bowl championship result. VT's first season with double-digit wins since 2011 saw a revitalization of the offense that should only go to another level when the staff has more time to implement their scheme.
The future is bright, and Babcock - along with University president Tim Sands - recognized it.
"I would like to take a moment and thank Whit and Dr. Sands and everyone at Virginia Tech for having faith in me and what we are trying to do here at Virginia Tech," Fuente said. "This is a special place, my wife and kids are awfully happy here, I’m happy here and excited to get to work here every single day. I was incredibly humbled and honored by that gesture and excited to continue to move forward and try to build on the fantastic tradition at Virginia Tech."
Fuente was caught by surprise when Babcock and his Deputy Director of Athletics, Desiree Reed-Francois, approached him with the opportunity to extend his time as top Hokie.
“Whit and Desiree came to me it, certainly wasn’t something that I was anticipating," he explained. "We had a good talk about our program, about our coaching staff. I couldn’t be more proud of our staff here and the fact that they are all back. I think that speaks volumes. Many, if not all, had opportunities to go somewhere else, and it speaks to Virginia Tech and continuity. I think those are all good things. They approached me at the end-of-the-year meetings, and we had a good conversation about where we are going and what we are doing."
What is foremost for the Hokies right now is spring practice. VT is preparing for the 2017 season with several questions to answer after several key players moved on to NFL opportunities.
If his first year in Blacksburg is any indication, Fuente will be able to adjust quickly and put an outstanding product on the field.