Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente is out after the program and its long-time coach agreed to part ways after six seasons. It’s already a crowded field of college football head coaching vacancies, but the Hokies have some appeal that could lure the right candidate.
Hired in 2016, Fuente replaced Frank Beamer after four consecutive seasons with five or fewer wins. Things got off to a great start for Fuente, with the Hokie delivering a 10-4 win in his first season as the Virginia Tech head coach and the program capped off the year with a Belk Bowl victory. Things still looked promising in 2017, a 9-4 season, but the wheels fell off soon after.
Justin Fuente record (Virgina Tech): 43-31, 1-3 in bowl games
After winning a combined 10 games in the past two years, the Hokies’ athletic department decided it was time to move on. With Fuente out the door, likely destined to become an offensive coordinator at a top program, another coaching search is underway.
Let’s examine a few Virginia Tech head coach candidates who should be squarely on the program’s radar.
Joe Moorhead, offensive coordinator, Oregon Ducks
Joe Moorhead, one of the top offensive minds in college football, should be among the top coaching candidates across college football this offseason. The Ducks’ offensive coordinator began his career on the sidelines as a graduate assistant at Pittsburgh (1998-’99) and has climbed the coaching ladder ever since. He first became a head coach at Fordham (2021-’15), posting a stellar 38-13 record in the regular season. It was followed by a two-year stint as Penn State’s offensive coordinator before a short run with the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Joe Moorhead coaching record (FBS): 14-12, 0-2 in bowl games
Moorhead gets the most out of his players on offense. As the Nittany Lions offensive coordinator, Penn State averaged 37.6 ppg in 2016 and finished as the fifth highest-scoring offense (41.1 ppg) in 2017. This season at Oregon, the Ducks are averaging 35.3 ppg and have the 10th-best rushing attack in the nation (227.4 ypg).
Just look at Oregon’s victory over Ohio State and the program’s loss to Stanford, when Moorhead was unavailable, as testaments to his incredible play-calling and scheme. He should be the top choice to become the next Virginia Tech head coach.
Hugh Freeze, head coach, Liberty Flames
Hugh Freeze comes with some baggage, but there is no denying his ability as a head coach. He posted a 10-3 record in one season at Arkansas, bolted to Ole Miss and found success (39-25) and is now turning Liberty into a must-see football team every week. He certainly wants to return to a marquee program and with SEC teams likely off the table, there’s an opportunity here for Virginia Tech.