Nokomis High School grad and Virginia Tech associate head coach/defensive coordinator Bud Foster and head coach Justin Fuente announced on Thursday, Aug. 1, that Foster plans to retire from coaching following the 2019 season.
Upon 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.
Foster currently serves as the nation's longest continuously tenured FBS assistant coach at the same school, having arrived in Blacksburg for Beamer's initial season as head coach in 1987.
"Virginia Tech has been home for 33 years and I'm grateful to continue doing what I love for one more season," Foster said. "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 Whit and Coach Fuente putting their faith in me the past few years," Foster added. "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."
"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!"
Foster's name and the Lunch Pail Defense have been synonymous with success since he took over sole duties as Tech's defensive coordinator in 1996 after serving as co-coordinator in 1995. The Nokomis, IL native has been a consistent component in helping the Hokies compile the nation's longest active bowl streak, a 26-year stretch that began in 1993.
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 time frame to own over 800.0 sacks and over 350 INTs.
Going back to 1996 NFL Draft, 45 of Foster's defensive pupils have been drafted including 11 players picked in the first or second rounds. In 2018, Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds became the first brothers in NFL history to be selected in the first round of the same NFL Draft. Other Foster pupils selected in the first round of the NFL Draft include CBs Kyle Fuller (Chicago, 2014) and DeAngelo Hall (Atlanta, 2004). A fifth-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, S Kam Chancellor (Seattle) earned four Pro Bowl berths and earned a Super Bowl XVIII ring with the Seahawks, while CB Brandon Flowers enjoyed a nine-year NFL career after earning All-America honors for Tech. In total, 11 of Foster's former defensive pupils are currently on NFL rosters.
A collegiate player at Murray State, Foster began his coaching career at his alma mater before coming to Virginia Tech with Frank Beamer in 1987. Foster was a first team all-conference selection at defensive back in his senior year at Nokomis in 1976 and was a second team pick at running back. He also held the school record for tackles for 41 years before it was broken by Ben Marley in 2017.
Foster and his wife, Jessie, have three children, Grant, Amy and Hillary, and three grandchildren, Jaiden, Braxton and Nora.
The Hokies open the 2019 season on August 31 at Boston College. That game will be broadcast on ACC Network.
Press release courtesy of Virginia Tech University.