On a day when Virginia Tech officially added several players to the squad, they also had a significant loss. Virginia Tech secondary coach Torrian Gray is leaving the school, Justin Fuente confirmed Thursday. He has officially been announced as the defensive backs coach at Florida.
Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated was the first to report this story.
Gray has been the secondary coach at Virginia Tech since 2006 and was retained even after the retirement of Frank Beamer. He played safety for Virginia Tech from 1992-96 and for the Minnesota Vikings from 1997-99. The Lakeland, Fla. native has served as the defensive backs coach for Maine, Connecticut and in the NFL with the Chicago Bears.
Gray took a pay cut from last season to remain on the Hokies' coaching staff from $275,600 to $260,000. Kirk Callahan, Florida's defensive backs coach in 2015, made $301,500 last season.
“Coach Fuente has been great to me and I know the future will be bright at Virginia Tech under his leadership,” Gray said via a release from the school. “This wasn’t about dollars and cents or anything else. Virginia Tech made me a very generous offer to stay, but this was simply a career opportunity and chance to return home to my Florida roots that my family couldn’t pass up.
“I can’t thank Coach Fuente enough for offering to do more to encourage me to stay, but Florida was one of the few opportunities that would even make me consider leaving Virginia Tech. I wish Coach Fuente and his staff the very best, and I’ll continue to follow the progress of the great young men in the Tech locker room. I’m going to miss them all.”
Gray's departure is a significant blow for the Hokies. When you are the secondary coach for a school sometimes referred to as "DBU" then clearly you're doing something right. The timing is also tough given how late it is in the year. It will be hard for Fuente to replace him.
As tough a loss as it may be, however, it is far better that this happen after signing day than before as the news could have spooked some of the Hokies' recruits.
“Torrian’s been a fine player and a fine coach for Virginia Tech,” defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. “I know he was torn about this decision, but ultimately we both understood that for him to advance in his career, this day would eventually come. We’ll always appreciate his contributions to the Hokies even though he’s going home to Florida. We’ve been through changes on our staff before, and I know Coach Fuente will find a great fit to help us continue our tradition of excellence on defense at Tech.”