Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente emerges as ‘leading candidate’ for Baylor job, per report

Justin Fuente’s name is circulating in connection with another Power Five opening. The Virginia Tech coach, who was reportedly a candidate for the Arkansas vacancy filled by Sam Pittman, is expected to interview at Baylor on Wednesday, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports. Fuente is considered the “leading candidate” for the job, per Thamel.

In four seasons at Virginia Tech, Fuente has compiled a 33-20 (20-12 ACC) record. He led the Hokies into the AP Top 25 late this season, though they lost their last two games to rival Virginia and Kentucky in the Belk Bowl.

Virginia Tech finished 8-5 this season and has not received the boost many expected when Fuente was plucked from Memphis after turning the program around and going 19-6 in his final two seasons with the Tigers.

Baylor is looking for a replacement for Matt Rhule, who left to become coach of the Carolina Panthers. Rhule spent three seasons in Waco, Texas, leading the Bears to a Sugar Bowl appearance just two years after the program finished 1-11 in his first season following the school’s sexual assault scandal.

Fuente’s buyout is reportedly just $1 million, and the Virginia Tech program is in a period of transition.

Legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster stepped down at the end of the 2019 season, and the Hokies have a 2020 recruiting class currently ranked 13th out of 14 teams in the ACC, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings.

Fuente faced the task of following legendary Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer, who retired in 2015 after consecutive 7-6 seasons.