Virginia Tech and head football coach Justin Fuente “mutually agreed to part ways” after six seasons, the school announced Tuesday.
The move comes days after the Hokies beat Duke 48-17 to run their record to 5-5 on the season. Fuente compiled a 43-31 record while at Tech.
Virginia Tech got off to a good start in 2021, upsetting then-No. 9 North Carolina in the season opener, but could never get on track, especially on the offensive end. The Hokies are ranked next to last in the ACC in scoring and total offense.
“We sincerely appreciate the contributions that Coach Fuente made to our football program and the positive impact he made on our student-athletes during his time at Virginia Tech,” Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement.
“While it is never easy to make a change, I believe in order for our football program to attain the type of sustained success that is expected at Virginia Tech, the time was right for new leadership of our football program.”
Fuente took over for legendary coach Frank Beamer before the 2016 season and led the team to 10 victories, a division title and a bowl win in that first season — when he was named ACC Coach of the Year.
The Hokies never reached the ACC title game again during his tenure and lost three straight bowl games the next three seasons. Virginia Tech finished 5-6 last season.
According to the terms of his contract, Fuente will be owed a buyout of $10 million. His contract is silent regarding a duty to mitigate. Had Virginia Tech waited until at least Dec. 15 to make the move, the buyout would have dropped to $7.5 million.
Co-defensive line coach J.C. Price has been named interim coach for the rest of the year. Virginia Tech has two games remaining against Miami and Virginia.
Contributing: Steve Berkowitz
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Justin Fuente, Virginia part ways after six seasons