As first reported yesterday afternoon by CoachingSearch.com, TCU’s co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente emerged as one of the favorites for the Memphis job and news broke this afternoon that the 35-year old coach will take over the head coaching position for the Tigers.
First reported by John Martin of Scout.com, the University of Memphis’ coaching search committee met this afternoon and decided to extend an offer to Fuente. Fuente accepted the position with the University of Memphis and will be introduced tomorrow at noon on campus at the University of Memphis.
Rumors began circulating yesterday that Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain was the leading candidate for the opening at Memphis and that the two parties were negotiating terms to a deal. According to a source, the hang-up on the deal with McElwain came down to the details of the buy-out figure. When Memphis would not budge on their target number in the contract, McElwain decided to withdraw his name from consideration and the search committee moved on to Fuente.
Fuente flirted with the offensive coordinator positions last off-season at both Clemson and LSU, but opted to stay with the Horned Frogs.
Fuente initially joined TCU in 2007 as a running backs coach after a five-year stint at Illinois State. After two seasons, Fuente was promoted to his current position as co-offensive coordinator. Fuente is credited with the development of former TCU quarterback and second-round NFL Draft selection Andy Dalton, who is current the starting quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals. In addition to Dalton, Fuente spent time developing current TCU quarterback Casey Pachall.
Fuente – who spent two years at Oklahoma before transferring – is an alumni of Murray State where he was named the Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year as the starting quarterback for the Racers. Fuente was also named a finalist for the Walter Payton Award following the 1999 season. He still holds the single-season records at Murray State for most pass completions (240), passing yards (3,497), highest pass efficiency (151.21), and most touchdown passes (27).
In an ironic twist, a source says that Fuente will be introduced during halftime Sunday as the Tigers’ basketball team takes on his alma mater, Murray State.