Memphis, TN, United States (4E Sports) – After exceeding every expectation in his first year, University of Memphis football coach Justin Fuente has been rewarded with a one-year contract extension that will keep him through the 2017 season.
Under Fuente, Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen said “the football team made impressive strides throughout the 2012 season and continues to be headed in the right direction”.
Fuente, a former TCU co-offensive coordinator, signed a five-year contract when he was hired in December 2011 for his first head coaching job. The terms of his contract, which paid him $900,000 in 2012, remain the same.
A former Oklahoma and Murray State quarterback, Fuente led the Tigers to a strong finish, winning their final three games over Tulane, UAB and Southern Miss in convincing fashion. The Tigers finished 4-8 overall, but went 4-4 in Conference USA play.
Fuente signed his second recruiting class last week, a group composed of several three-star recruits, including quarterback Brayden Scott, who graduated early from high school and enrolled at the University of Memphis last month.
Other three-star signees include Olive Branch’s Sam Craft, running back Marquis Warford of San Antonio James Madison and linebacker Jackson Dillon of Ringling, Oklahoma.
“We are in this thing to go and build a program,” Fuente said. “I appreciate the administration extending the contract very much so. I appreciate them understanding and recognizing where we’re coming from and where we’re going. Their confidence is not based on where we are, but based on what we can be.”
Fuente was named University of Memphis coach in December 2011 following a two-year run by Larry Porter, who went 3-21 in his brief tenure after replacing Tommy West.
Under Fuente last fall, the Tigers gradually made improvements as the year progressed. In its eight C-USA games, the U of M averaged 327.1 yards per game, or 94 more per game than in 2011.
Defensively, the U of M ranked first in total defense in C-USA allowing 331.6 yards in the eight league games. In 2012, the Tiger defense yielded 491 yards per game and ranked 117th nationally among 120 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision programs.
Fuente will lead the program into the Big East conference this fall. The Big East will be a Bowl Championship Series league in 2013.