Virginia Tech promotes Justin Hamilton to defensive coordinator, succeeds Bud Foster

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Virginia Tech Football vs. Rhode Island (Courtesy of Virginia Tech athletics)

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech football has found its replacement for defensive coordinator Bud Foster, promoting from within.

The school announced Sunday that safeties coach Justin Hamilton will take over the role at the end of the season, when Foster retires after 33 seasons.

Hamilton played for the Hokies under Foster and former head coach Frank Beamer from 2002-05. He spent time working at running back, wide receiver and defensive back for Tech, in addition to playing a prominent role on special teams before going on to play in the National Football League.

The Clintwood, Virginia-native returned to the Hokies last year as Director of Player Development.

“Justin has earned this opportunity to lead our defense and our football team,” head coach Justin Fuente said in the press release. “Everyone in our program has a great deal of respect for him and his abilities. Coach Foster has reiterated to me on several occasions that Justin is ready for this next step in his coaching career. I feel the same way and am convinced he’s exactly the right fit for this role at Virginia Tech. Coach Hamilton is a talented coach and recruiter with a deep passion for both the game and Virginia Tech. He possesses a great knack for connecting with our players. His voice carries tremendous weight on the field and in the locker room because he’s worn that helmet and experienced many of the same things the young men in our program are going through.

“Just as importantly, Coach Hamilton exemplifies the Hard, Smart, Tough mantra that is so important to us at Virginia Tech,” Fuente continued. “Nothing was ever handed to Justin Hamilton, he’s had to earn everything. I respect his work ethic and roots in this region very much. Coach Hamilton and I both understand the legacy and tradition of Lunch Pail Defense that Coach Foster and generations of players have established at Virginia Tech. Justin has been, and certainly continues to be a big part of that. There’s no way to replace a man like Bud Foster. What we need is a coach, a teacher and a talent evaluator who can help our current team continue to succeed, while recruiting the right kind of young men to join our program in the future. There’s no question in my mind that Justin Hamilton is the right man for the job.”

Hamilton native spent four seasons at VMI prior to returning to Blacksburg in 2018. He worked as VMI’s inside linebackers coach in 2017 after a three-year stint coaching outside linebackers. He also served as co-special teams coordinator for his final three seasons with the Keydets. Hamilton joined VMI after serving as defensive coordinator at UVA-Wise from 2011-13. He also spent time as a strength and conditioning coordinator at UVA-Wise in 2010-11.

Fuente also confirmed on Sunday that assistant coaches Zohn Burden and Brian Mitchell will not return to the Virginia Tech coaching staff.

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