We all knew big changes were in store for Virginia Tech’s defense given the forthcoming retirement of longtime coordinator Bud Foster but that was far from the only name that was going to be replaced in 2020 and beyond for the team.
The Hokies confirmed a number of such moves by Justin Fuente on Friday, following up his earlier hire of Justin Hamilton as defensive coordinator to replace Foster. Notably, that includes the addition of former Minnesota head coach and recent Washington State defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys as linebackers coach and the return of one of the best defenders in school history with Darryl Tapp set to serve as a defensive assistant coach.
“We’ve wanted to find a way to bring Darryl Tapp back into our program for some time,” Fuente said in a release. “If there is one former player who I’ve consistently heard Bud Foster use as an example of what it means to play defense at Virginia Tech, it’s Darryl Tapp. I know Coach Hamilton feels the same way about Darryl. He’s spent the past two seasons at Vanderbilt and Central Michigan preparing to take the next step in his coaching career. With his ties to the 757 region and his NFL experience, Darryl will be another great addition to our staff.”
While the addition of Tapp will be sure to get the fan base excited, bringing Claeys in might be a little more eyebrow-raising for outsiders. The last the longtime assistant was heard from in college football was back when he was abruptly resigning his position with the Cougars in the middle of the year with little explanation. He’ll coach the linebackers, the position group that Foster handled for decades in Blacksburg.
As for Tapp, his return to the program he led to great heights isn’t a complete surprise given how he’s been moving through the coaching ranks and the fact that Tech had three openings to fill this offseason. It probably will be a little strange for the fearsome defensive lineman to walk through his old haunt again in such a different role but the former All-American seems like quite the natural fit alongside Hamilton and others as a new era gets underway with the Hokies.