Bud Foster to step down at end of 2019 season
“Virginia Tech has been home for 33 years and I’m grateful to continue doing what I love for one more season,” Foster said in a statement. “I’ll always be indebted to Coach Beamer for bringing me to Blacksburg back in 1987. Coach Fuente has been phenomenal to work with and I can’t thank him enough for the way he has embraced our defensive philosophy and the many traditions of Virginia Tech football. It’s been a great ride and it’s not over yet. I’ve been blessed to work with so many outstanding individuals and have enjoyed the privilege of coaching some of the best players to ever wear a Hokies’ uniform.”
Foster, 60, an alum of Murray State, came to Virginia Tech when the school poached then-Murray State coach Frank Beamer in 1987, and was elevated by Beamer to the defensive-coordinator position in 1996.
He stayed on to serve in that role after Beamer stepped down in 2015, and after not even being granted an interview for the head job that ultimately went to Justin Fuente, who is now in his fourth season at the helm.
Foster has done OK since, at least financially. His $975,000 annual salary ranks him in the Top 25 among college assistants nationally.
Foster will move into a new role at Virginia Tech at the end of the football season, working as an ambassador for the program, in addition to focusing on special initiatives and other duties as assigned by athletics director Whit Babcock.
“I appreciate Whit and Coach Fuente putting their faith in me the past few years,” Foster said. “Whit has been a class act all the way around and I have no doubt that Coach Fuente is the right guy to continue leading this program. I’m energized about where the Hokies are headed under his direction and I’m grateful for our friendship. I’ve poured my heart and soul into this program for over three decades and that’s not going to change this year. I’m excited about this season and I can’t wait to get on the practice field Friday.”
“Bud has served as an integral piece of the fabric of Virginia Tech football for 33 seasons,” Babcock said. “All Hokies appreciate Bud’s many longstanding contributions to our University and the many individuals he has positively impacted over the years. Coach Fuente and I both recognize and respect that this was Bud’s decision to make and no one else’s. He’s enjoyed an outstanding career, embracing Tech’s values and spirit of Ut Prosim. We are looking forward to a memorable 2019 and will always be proud to call Bud Foster one of our own at Virginia Tech.”
On the field, Foster’s 2018 defense was a sore point for a Hokies team that posted the program’s first losing record in 26 years, ranking 85th nationally in scoring defense (31.0 points per game) and 98th nationally in yards allowed per game (438.6 yards per game).
He has a chance to make that a one-year blip this fall as he rides into the football sunset.
“There’s only one Bud Foster,” Fuente said. “When Whit and I first discussed the head coaching job at Virginia Tech in 2015, one of the many appealing aspects of the opportunity was that it could potentially come with the best defensive coordinator in the country. I’m personally grateful for how Bud accepted me and the fact that I’ll be able to work with him for a fourth season. When you think of the individuals who truly helped put Virginia Tech on the national map, it unquestionably starts with Frank Beamer and includes a multitude of sensational players starting with Bruce Smith and Michael Vick. But you can’t go any further in that conversation without discussing Bud Foster and the Lunch Pail Defense. What a great friend, an outstanding man and unbelievable football coach.”
“Bud’s contributions to this university and community have been monumental!” Beamer said. “I want to personally thank him for his decades of dedication and commitment. I encourage the Hokie Nation to show up ‘loud & proud’ this fall to cheer on Coach Fuente and the team, and, to send Coach Foster out the Virginia Tech way!”
Story by Chris Graham