Gary Patterson Introduced Justin Fuente To ‘A Whole New Way’ Of Coaching


Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente spoke with the Seth Davis Show about how he learned from Gary Patterson at TCU.


Take a long, hard look at the Virginia Tech Hokies. They’re off to a 4-1 start for the first time since 2013 and are coming off of a huge, 34-3 win against ACC foe North Carolina.

Head coach Justin Fuente has his Hokies surging in his first year on the job, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Take a look at what he did at his last stop.

When he took over as the Memphis head coach before the 2012 season, the Tigers were struggling, having just wrapped up a 2-10 season in 2011. Fuente built that ship, piece by piece, bit by bit. And after a 7-17 record in his first two seasons, Fuente finished his tenure at Memphis with a 19-6 record in his last two seasons. That includes a 55-48 win over BYU in the 2014 Miami Beach Bowl.

He left for the Virginia Tech job before last season’s BBVA Compass Bowl, and with all the success Fuente has had in recent years, he still knows to give credit when it’s due.

When the Virginia Tech head coach sat down with the Seth Davis Show, he looked back at his years spent coaching under Gary Patterson as TCU’s running backs coach and co-offensive coordinator – the job he held before arriving at Memphis.

“The way days were structured, practice was structured [at TCU], the offseason, how summer was structured, the whole nine yards,” Fuente referenced as to what he learned under Patterson. “It’s like I was introduced to a whole new way of doing things. I knew that if I ever got a chance, that’s how I wanted to do it.”

And when he got his chance, he did a lot with it. He took that job coaching the Tigers and parlayed it into a head coaching job with the Hokies in the ACC.

Just as he had learned under Patterson at TCU, Fuente kept an open mind when he stepped foot into Blacksburg and took advice from legendary Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, the man Fuente replaced.

“His best piece of advice was, ‘Be yourself,’” Fuente said of Beamer.

If this is Fuente is being himself, Virginia Tech fans must love his character right about now.

MORE: Justin Fuente Opens Up On Why He Accepted Memphis Job