Coming off a four-win season, one wouldn’t expect a head coach to be on the receiving end of some additional job security. Considering the state of the football program Justin Fuente inherited, however, it makes sense on multiple levels.
Memphis announced in a press release Wednesday that Fuente has received a one-year extension to his original contract. The first-year coach is now signed through the 2017 season.
Per the release, the other terms of his contract remain the same, which means essentially that Fuente did not receive a bump in pay to go along with the extension.
“Justin Fuente has met or exceeded every expectation we had for him during his first ten months as the head coach for the Tiger football program,” athletic director Tom Bowen said in a statement. “His program made impressive strides throughout the 2012 season and continues to be headed in the right direction. Now we, as a department, need to create a structure of support to work in unison with Coach Fuente and his program.”
While the Tigers finished the 2012 season at just 4-8, the win total was just one less than the football program had in the past three seasons combined. All four of the Tigers’ wins last year came in Conference USA play; the team won just two conference games from 2009-11.
Memphis, which will officially move from Conference USA to the Big East July 1 of this year, will carry a three-game winning streak into the 2013 season, matching the longest winning streak for the program since the Tigers won five games in a row way back in 2003.
“I am appreciative of Dr. Shirley Raines and Tom Bowen’s commitment to help build this football program,” Fuente said. “As evidenced by the final month of the season, we have laid a solid foundation for the future. I have been told our student-athletes are working hard during our off-season conditioning program, and the coaching staff is looking forward to preparing our players this spring for what is ahead for Tiger Football.”