Virginia Tech’s Fuente Voted ACC Coach of the Year
Hokies claim Coastal Division championship in his debut season
GREENSBORO, N.C. (ACSMA) – Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente has been selected as the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Coach of the Year in a vote by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA).
In his first season at the helm in Blacksburg, Fuente led Virginia Tech to a 9-3 regular-season record, and the Hokies finished atop the Coastal Division standings with a 6-2 league mark. Nine of his players earned All-ACC first-, second- or third-team honors in voting among ACSMA members.
Fuente guided Virginia Tech to the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game for the first time since 2011. The Hokies will face defending champion Clemson for the conference title in primetime Saturday night at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Fuente took the reins following the retirement of coaching legend Frank Beamer at the end of last season. Virginia Tech has earned bowl eligibility for the 24th consecutive year – the longest active streak recognized by the NCAA. His nine wins this season are tied for the most by a first-year head coach at Virginia Tech with C.P. Miles, who went 9-1 in 1905.
“The first thing that comes to mind is I'm excited for our kids,” said Fuente, who at 40 years of age is the youngest head football coach in the ACC. “I think it lets them know that we're doing things the right way, and if they follow the plan, they'll give themselves a chance to have success.
“Our mission was to try and win the Coastal championship and ultimately win the ACC Championship. We have that opportunity, and it's just a reaffirmation to our kids that the way we're doing things is the right way, and if they work hard (and) have a great attitude, they’ll have a chance to have success.”
Fuente led the ACSMA Coach of the Year balloting with 27 votes. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney was next with 11. Wake Forest’s Dave Clawson had four votes, followed by Louisville’s Bobby Petrino and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson with two apiece. Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi and Miami’s Mark Richt each received one vote.