Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will coach for one more season.
The team announced Thursday that the longtime assistant would retire at the end of the 2019 season. Foster has been Virginia Tech’s defensive coordinator since 1987 and is currently the longest-tenured assistant coach in college football. He stayed on as the Hokies’ defensive coordinator when Justin Fuente replaced Frank Beamer as head coach after the 2015 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 has been the architect behind some of the best defenses in college football in the last 25 years. Virginia Tech won 10 or more games in 13 seasons from 1995-2011 and strong defenses were a big part of that success.
“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,” Fuente said. “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."
Foster added in a tweet that he was the one who made the decision to retire.
Virginia Tech’s defense returns 10 starters from 2018, one of the worst seasons of Foster’s tenure. Tech allowed 31 points per game and gave up 6.4 yards per play. In contrast, the 2017 Hokies’ defense gave up fewer than 15 points per game and 5.1 yards per play.
45 of Foster’s players have been drafted since 1996
While Virginia Tech’s 1999 team that went 11-1 and lost to Florida State in the Sugar Bowl is mostly known for Vick, Foster’s defense was fifth in the country in points per game that season. From 2004-07, Virginia Tech’s defense was no worse than third in the country in points allowed per game.
In 2006, the Hokies gave up just 11 points per game, the fewest of any team in the country. Clemson’s national championship defense, the unit that gave up the fewest points per game of anyone last season, allowed just over 13 points per game in 2018.
According to Virginia Tech, 45 defensive players coached by Foster have been drafted by NFL teams since 1996. That includes four first-round picks: CB DeAngelo Hall in 2004, CB Kyle Fuller in 2014, LB Tremaine Edmunds in 2018 and his brother, S Terrell Edmunds, in the same draft.
After Virginia Tech beat Florida State to start the 2018 season, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel asked Fuente if Foster deserved to be the first assistant coach to go into the College Football Hall of Fame.
“First of all, he should be in the Hall of Fame,” Fuente told Yahoo Sports last September. “Second of all, it’s hard to quantify the longevity, the consistency. You can’t point to one player. He’s been the steady force behind those performances.”
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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