Baylor is targeting Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente as its new head football coach and is planning an in-person interview, according to Yahoo Sports.
A report by Football Scoop said that Louisiana head coach Billy Napier interviewed with Baylor on Tuesday.
Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday. After Matt Rhule left Baylor to coach the NFL’s Carolina Panthers on Jan. 7, Rhoades said he wouldn’t comment on any candidates until Baylor names the head coach.
In four seasons at Virginia Tech, Fuente has compiled a 33-20 record with four bowl appearances, including an 8-5 mark this season that ended with a 37-30 loss to Kentucky in the Belk Bowl.
Fuente finished 10-4 in his first season at Virginia Tech in 2016 followed by a 9-4 record in 2017 and a 6-7 record in 2018. He reportedly makes $4 million annually at Virginia Tech.
He had previously rebuilt the Memphis football program as head coach from 2012-15, compiling a 26-23 record that included a 10-3 finish in 2014 and a 9-3 record in 2015.
During Fuente’s tenure at Memphis, Rhoades was the athletic director at Houston in the American Athletic Conference.
Fuente, 43, is a native of Tulsa who played quarterback at Oklahoma from 1996-97 before transferring to Murray State where he played in 1998-99.
He was an assistant coach at Illinois State from 2001-06 before serving on Gary Patterson’s staff at TCU from 2007-11, including the last three seasons as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Napier, 40, has been the head coach at Louisiana (Lafayette) for the last two years, improving from 7-7 in 2018 to 11-3 in 2019 with a pair of first-place finishes in the Sun Belt Conference West and two bowl appearances.
Napier is a Georgia native who played quarterback at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., from 1999-2002.
Napier was an assistant coach at Clemson from 2006-10, serving as tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator initially under Tommy Bowden and later as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator under current Clemson coach Dabo Swinney.
He went on to coach two stints under Nick Saban at Alabama, first as an offensive analyst in 2011 before returning as wide receivers coach from 2013-16. Napier was part of two national championship teams at Alabama.
Napier became Arizona State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2017 before landing his first head coaching job at Louisiana.
The Baylor players have pushed for defensive ends coach Joey McGuire to become the Bears’ next head coach. McGuire won three state championships at Cedar Hill High School before becoming an assistant on Rhule’s staff for the last three years.
Football Scoop also reported that Baylor is interested in speaking to LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda following the Tigers’ national championship. Aranda has been LSU’s defensive coordinator for the last four seasons.