The end of yet another era in Blacksburg is coming to a close.
Thursday afternoon, Virginia Tech announced that the 2019 season will be the last for Bud Foster as the long-time Hokies assistant will retire from coaching at the end of the upcoming campaign. The announcement comes just four days after Foster celebrated his 60th birthday.
The upcoming season will be Foster’s 33rd with the football program.
“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.
“I appreciate [athletic director] Whit [Babcock] and [head coach Justin] Fuente putting their faith in me the past few years. 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.”
Foster began his three decades-plus tenure with the Hokies as inside linebackers coach in 1987. In 1995, Foster was promoted to defensive coordinator, a post he’s held for the past 24 seasons. He also continued coaching the team’s linebackers.
Tech’s famed Lunch Pail defenses have been statistically stifling over the last quarter-century. From the school’s release:
Under Foster’s tutelage as defensive coordinator, the Hokies lead all FBS programs in sacks (856.0), sack yardage (-5,839), interceptions (380) and third-down percentage (31.5) dating back to 1996. Over that same span, only Alabama (16.3 ppg) and Ohio State (17.0 ppg) have been better in scoring defense than Virginia Tech (18.1). Tech, Ohio State and Florida State are the only three programs during that timeframe to own over 800.0 sacks and over 350 INTs.
“Bud’s contributions to this university and community have been monumental!” Frank Beamer, Tech’s longtime head coach who retired after the 2015 season, said in his statement. “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!”
The school added in its release that, [u]pon the conclusion of the season Foster will continue to serve Virginia Tech Athletics in a new role reporting directly to Director of Athletics Whit Babcock similar to Frank Beamer, working as an ambassador for the program, in addition to focusing on special initiatives and other duties as assigned.”