Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente named ACC Football Coach of the Year

Head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies Justin Fuente celebrates with cornerback Brandon Facyson #31 and long snapper Wright Bynum #89 following the victory against the Virginia Cavaliers at Lane Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech defeated Virginia 52-10. (PHOTO: Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Head coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies Justin Fuente celebrates with cornerback Brandon Facyson #31 and long snapper Wright Bynum #89 following the victory against the Virginia Cavaliers at Lane Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech defeated Virginia 52-10. (PHOTO: Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

GREENSBORO, N.C. – What a way to start. In his first season as Hokie head football coach, Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente was named the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Coach of the Year.

Fuente guided the Hokies to a 9-3 regular-season record. Nine of his players earned All-ACC first-, second- or third-team honors.

“The first thing that comes to mind is I’m excited for our kids,” Fuente said. “I think it lets them know that we’re doing things the right way, and if they follow the plan, they’ll give themselves a chance to have success.”

Fuente, 40, is the youngest head football coach in the ACC.

The Hokies face Clemson in the ACC Football Championship Game Saturday night.

“Our mission was to try and win the Coastal championship and ultimately win the ACC Championship,” he said. “We have that opportunity, and it’s just a reaffirmation to our kids that the way we’re doing things is the right way, and if they work hard (and) have a great attitude, they’ll have a chance to have success.”

ACSMA Coach of the Year voting:

Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech 27

Dabo Swinney, Clemson 11

Dave Clawson, Wake Forest 4

Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech 2

Bobby Petrino, Louisville 2

Mark Richt, Miami 1

Pat Narduzzi, Pitt 1