Virginia Tech makes hire of Justin Fuente official


Virginia Tech makes hire of Justin Fuente official

Reports began surfacing on Saturday that Virginia Tech had found their new head coach and on Sunday, they made it official. Memphis' Justin Fuente was confirmed to be the program's next head coach with Bud Foster staying on as defensive coordinator, according to the team's official Twitter account.

Twenty-nine years after hiring Frank Beamer out of Murray State, Virginia Tech now turns to a Murray State grad in Fuente.

Fuente, 39, helped to turn around a struggling Memphis team in his four years with the program, culminating in a 10-3 season in 2014 and a 9-3 season so far in 2015.  He will replace Frank Beamer, who announced earlier this season that he would be retiring at the age of 69 after 29 years at the helm for the Hokies.

“This is an exciting day for Virginia Tech,” school president Timothy Sands said. “Having just ended our regular season with another win over UVA under our remarkable coach Frank Beamer, we can all celebrate our season and Coach Beamer’s tenure with a bowl game while we welcome Justin Fuente as our new football coach."

RELATED: Saturday's win a fitting end to Beamer's final season

Fuente took over a Memphis team in 2012 that had gone 5-31 in three seasons and made them a 10-win team in just his third year. He was the unanimous pick for AAC Coach of the Year in 2014 after leading the Tigers to their first conference championship since 1971. Memphis' upset win over Ole Miss this season really established Fuente on a national level and made him an attractive candidate for teams in need of a new head coach.

“We identified Coach Fuente as a top candidate early in our process," athletics director Whit Babcock said. "As our conversations progressed, we then met in person and it became obvious he is the right person to lead our football program. He possesses wisdom beyond his years, as well as a refreshing sense of humility and a calm confidence.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear."

Prior to his time in Memphis, Fuente served as the offensive coordinator under Gary Patterson at TCU from 2007-11. In 2010, the Horned Frogs set single-season school records in touchdowns (73), points scored (541) and total offense (6,119 yards).

With Fuente, the offense appears to be in good hands, as does the defense with the news that Foster will be retained.

The long-time defensive coordinator for the Hokies, Foster is considered one of the best in the business. He spent his entire coaching career working for Beamer and after expressing his interest in succeeding him as head coach, it was unclear what Foster would do after losing out the job to Fuente.

Foster's inclusion in the new regime will help ease the transition for a team whose entire cultural was built by Beamer. This is not a school with the long established history of a school like Notre Dame or Alabama. With Foster in tow, Virginia Tech is much less likely to face a debilitating identity crisis in the coming years as they try to transition from the only coach who has had extended success in Blacksburg.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” Foster said. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program. After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

The release made no mention of any of the school's other assistants.

With so many jobs already open around the FBS, this offseason will be a tumultuous one for coaches. With the news already official, Babcock managed to snag one of the best coaches on the market and keep one of the top coordinators before the coaching carousel could even really heat up. It's an impressive hire for a team hoping to stay nationally relevant.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Mike London resigns as head coach of Virginia football

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State


Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.


Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year


After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.


Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."