Fuente Gets Contract Extension

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Memphis, TN–  University of Memphis Director of Athletics Tom Bowen announced Wednesday that Tiger football coach Justin Fuente has received a one-year extension to his contract, which now runs through the 2017 football season.

Fuente, named the Tigers’ head coach in December of 2011, originally signed a five-year contract when hired. The other terms of his contract remain the same 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,” Bowen said. “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.”

“I am appreciative of Dr. Shirley Raines and Tom Bowen’s commitment to help build this football program,” Fuente said. “As evident 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.”

Memphis just finalized its second signing class under Fuente who will lead the football program into the BIG EAST Conference this fall.

In his first season as the Tigers’ coach, Fuente’s team won its last three conference games and at 4-4 in C-USA play, Memphis won more league games in 2012 than the last three seasons combined. Memphis’ 4-8 overall record marked the team’s best finish since 2008.

Last year, the Tigers made considerable improvements in all three phases of the game – offense, defense and special teams.

In Conference USA games, Memphis raised its total offense total from 243.0 yards per game to 327.1 yards an outing – a 26 percent increase in yardage from 2011 to 2012. Memphis almost doubled its rushing average from the previous season.

Memphis led Conference USA in total defense in league games played in 2012, giving up just 331.6 yards per game. The Tigers lowered their total yardage allowed in conference games from the previous season by 30 percent.

On special teams, Memphis was one of the nation’s leaders in kickoff return yardage defense as well as net punting.