UTC names Jim Foster new Lady Mocs' coach
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- David Blackburn made a hall of fame first hire as the new athletic director at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Former Ohio State coach Jim Foster, who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame next month, has been hired as the Lady Mocs' new head coach.
Blackburn made the announcement on his Twitter page Thursday afternoon. Foster replaces Wes Moore, who left UTC for North Carolina State last month after 15 extremely successful seasons.
He will be introduced at a press conference on campus Friday.
"It was apparent from the beginning of this process that the strong tradition of excellence surrounding our women's basketball program would attract a well-qualified candidate pool," Blackburn said in a university release. "I had no idea that we would be able to hire a Hall of Famer like Jim Foster.
"His career speaks for itself. He has achieved success at both the collegiate and international levels, while maintaining programs that graduate student-athletes and prepare them for productive and meaningful lives."
Foster was named the Big Ten coach of the year four times (2005-07, '09) at Ohio State, and led the Buckeyes to six regular season league championships and four tournament titles in his eleven seasons. OSU was ranked in the top ten in the nation in five of his last eight seasons in Columbus.
The 65-year-old Foster takes over a Chattanooga team that swept the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles last season before losing to Nebraska in the opening round of the NCAA Women's Tournament.
UTC loses senior starters Kylie Lambert and Kayla Christopher, but returns every other player from a roster that finished 29-4 overall and 19-1 in the SoCon.
"Chattanooga has always been one of our favorite places, going back to the early 90's when the SEC Tournament was hosted in the city," Foster said in a release. "I have always had a favorable impression of Chattanooga because of that and have been back often with my wife.
"(Former Head Coach Wes Moore) has done an absolutely terrific job of building a program that I have a lot of respect for. I am ready to get to work."
Foster took over a losing program at Ohio State in 2002 and led the Buckeyes to a school-record ten straight NCAA Tournament appearances, winning at least 20 games in each season. He left the program in March after his eleventh campaign, and the first in which he did not accomplish either feat.
His departure at Ohio State was a "mutual decision" according to Ohio State athletic director Miechelle Willis, who cited "some discussion with the postseason production, or lack thereof."
During a career that also included previous head coaching stops at Vanderbilt and St. Joseph's, Foster has made 27 postseason appearances (26 NCAA Tournaments), and the Abington, Pa., native is just the second collegiate coach - men's or women's at any level - to win at least 200 games at three different schools.
His overall career record stands at 783-307 (.718), which includes a .663 (248-126) winning percentage in 13 years at St. Joe's and a .721 (256-99) winning percentage in eleven seasons at Vandy.