Tulane’s Fritz mourns death of legendary coach Foster

Dick Foster, who essentially put Coffeyville Community College football on the map and even was featured in Sports Illustrated in the mid-1980s for his work at the Kansas junior college, has died. He was 86.

Tulane head coach Willie Fritz, a Foster understudy who’s turned around the Green Wave football program, posted his condolences regarding Foster’s death on Friday.

“One of the greatest coaches in College Football history and one of my mentors,” Fritz said in the Tweet.

The only coach in history to win National Junior College Athletics Association championships at different schools, his first being Fort Scott Community College (Kansas), Foster’s Coffeyville Red Ravens’ squads went a robust 127-23-2, per the school. Foster also coached 47 All-Americans, more than 30 of Stewart’s Coffeyville alums played professional football, and, the school noted, “the Ravens were ranked in the top 15 in the national polls every year” of Foster’s run, including the 1983 crown.

Among Foster’s most notable former standouts is Mike Rozier, the 1983 Heisman Trophy award-winning running back from Nebraska who became an NFL first round draft pick in the ’84 supplemental draft.

Foster also is a Kansas Sports Hall of Fame inductee, and the organization noted upon Foster’s induction that his 146-25-2 all-time ledger as a junior college head coach was the nation’s top winning percentage (84.4%) at the time of his retirement from coaching in June 1989. Foster also is an NJCAA Football Hall of Fame inductee. Prior to his time in the junior college ranks, Foster was a high school coach in the Kansas City area for 14 years.

Foster then became the University of Oklahoma’s first-ever recruiting coordinator, a position now ubiquitous in college football. After eight years with the Sooners’ program, Foster returned to Coffeyville and served as a volunteer assistant coach for the program’s new leader, Foster’s son, Skip. A former All-American offensive lineman for the Red Ravens, Skip Foster served as the program’s head coach from 1989 through 2000, per the school. After nearly a decade in the Arena Football and Arena Football 2 leagues, Skip Foster returned to Coffeyville earlier this decade and served as the team’s offensive coordinator.

The school dubbed its athletics facility the Dick Foster Athletic Complex in Foster’s honor.

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John Brice has covered college football, mostly in the SEC as well as covering Notre Dame and Ohio State, for more than 20 years. He's a former Tennessee Vols football sideline reporter and believes life should be spent traveling or planning the next trip.