Longtime Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster will make the 2019 campaign his last, he announced on Thursday.
A charter member of the non-existent Assistant Coaches' Hall of Fame, Foster turned down numerous head coaching opportunities over his 33 years in Blacksburg in order to remain at Virginia Tech.
"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."
Foster was an original hire to Frank Beamer's inaugural staff, way back in 1987, and never left. Along the way he helped the Hokies rise from a I-A independent with little history into a perennial Big East and ACC contender, with the brand of a program that plays the best defense and special teams in the country.
Foster helped Virginia Tech win seven conference championships and six ACC Coastal championships while making nine New Year's Six appearances, including the national championship game during the 1999 season. Virginia Tech also owns the nation's longest active bowl streak, a span of 26 consecutive seasons dating back to 1993.
The backbone of that continued success was the pressure Foster's defenses put on opponents:
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.
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.
"There's only one Bud Foster," head Hokie Justin 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."
Prior to coaching for Beamer and Fuente at Viriginia Tech, Foster played safety and linebacker for then-defensive coordinator Frank Beamer at Murray State. Foster graduated in 1981 and immediately moved into coaching as a Murray State GA under first-time head coach Beamer and never left his side, remaining his defensive coordinator until Beamer's 2015 retirement, then transitioning to Fuente for what will be the final four years of his career.
After this season concludes, Foster will join Beamer in the Virginia Tech administration, working under AD Whit Babcock as "an ambassador for the program, in addition to focusing on special initiatives and other duties as assigned."
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