GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP/WRIC) – Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente is the Atlantic Coast Conference’s coach of the year and Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois was selected as its top rookie both on offense and overall.
The ACC announced its individual awards for coaches and rookies Tuesday following a vote of 48 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association.
In his first season as Frank Beamer’s successor, Fuente led the 19th-ranked Hokies (9-3, 6-2) to the Coastal Division title and a berth in this weekend’s ACC championship game opposite No. 4 Clemson in Orlando, Florida.
Virginia Tech now has six ACC division titles, the most of any school since the Hokies joined the ACC in 2004. Virginia Tech will face Clemson at Camping World Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, as the Hokies seek their fifth ACC championship. Dating back to the 2004 campaign, no team owns more ACC titles than Virginia Tech’s four league crowns. Florida State also has won four ACC championships over that span.
According to the Virginia Tech Athletics Department, Fuente’s nine victories are tied with C.P. Miles (9-1 record in 1905) for the most by a first-year coach in Virginia Tech history. Fuente is the ACC’s youngest head coach and the fourth-youngest FBS head coach.
The 40-year-old Fuente joined Virginia Tech after a four-year stint at Memphis. After inheriting a program that went 5-31 in the three years prior to his arrival, the Tigers went 19-6 in their final two seasons under Fuente, earning back-to-back bowl appearances.
Virginia Tech is currently ranked No. 18 in the Amway USA Today Coaches Poll and is No. 19 in the Associated Press’ Top 25.
Francois threw for 3,128 yards – the fourth-highest total by a freshman in ACC history – and 18 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Clemson tackle Dexter Lawrence was picked as the defensive rookie of the year.
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