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Virginia Tech names Fontel Mines as new wide receivers coach

Mines comes to the Hokies from ODU and played at Virginia. He has deep recruiting ties in the state of Virginia.

Virginia v Georgia Tech Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Brent Pry finally has a complete coaching staff. Virginia Tech officially announced the hiring of Fontel Mines as the Hokies’ new wide receivers coach Wednesday. Mines will also serve as Virginia Tech’s offensive recruiting coordinator.

Mines comes to Blacksburg from Old Dominion, where he spent the 2021 season coaching tight ends for the Monarchs. Mines coached Zack Kuntz, who caught 73 passes last season — the second-most for an FBS tight end.

Before coming to ODU, Mines spent two seasons at East Carolina, where he coached tight ends, slot receivers and was the recruiting coordinator. Mines was at James Madison in 2016 and 2017. Before his time at JMU, Mines coached tight ends and wide receivers at Richmond for five years. He began his college coaching career at Chowan College in 2011.

If you’ve heard of Mines before, it’s probably from his playing career, where he was a standout wide receiver at the University of Virginia from 2003-06. Mines played in 42 games for the Cavaliers, finishing his college career with 68 receptions for 737 yards and five touchdowns.

Mines signed with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2007. He spent time on Chicago’s practice squad over the next two seasons before he was released in 2010, ending his playing career. Mines immediately went into coaching, joining his alma mater, Hermitage High School in Richmond as an assistant coach.

At Hermitage, Mines was a two-sport athlete, also starring basketball.

I know some out there will question this hire. I get it. He’s probably not who you expected, and some will have this irrational hate toward Mines because he played at Virginia. That’s silly.

I’ve researched Mines as a coach, and he’s well respected. He obviously has deep ties inside the state of Virginia, not only being from Richmond but coaching at Richmond, JMU and ODU. That’s impressive. He has an excellent reputation with coaches in the Richmond area and the “757.” That was imperative for this hire, especially after losing Ryan Smith, who was doing an outstanding job recruiting for the Hokies in the state.

Let’s give Pry the benefit of the doubt here. The Hokies continue to add to the support staff, which I would argue is almost as important as some of these position coaches. Pry knows firsthand what it takes for top programs. And, it’s encouraging that he’s getting the financial support to make these hires. Does it mean it will work? No, of course not. However, it’s a big-time start. I like Mines’ history in the state. There are people who believe he will pull some top talent to Blacksburg, particularly from his home area. In recent years, the Hokies have lost too many players from the Richmond area.

Welcome to Blacksburg, Coach Mines.