BLACKSBURG, Va. – The end of an era is coming to Virginia Tech football.
After the 2019 season, longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster will retire from coaching.
Foster serves as the nation's longest continuously tenured FBS assistant coach at the same school, having arrived in Blacksburg for Frank 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 (Justin) 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."
Virginia Tech's second to last home game of the season on Nov. 9 against Wake Forest will now be Bud Foster Night.
“What our kids now have is a unique opportunity. We know the ending, now we have an opportunity to write the chapter,” said Fuente while addressing the media Thursday afternoon.
After 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'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, Illinois, 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 timeframe to own more than 800 sacks and more than 350 interceptions.
"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'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 hasn't just lead the Hokies to success at the collegiate level.
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.
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.