Jim Foster's collegiate experience consists of jobs at Ohio State, Vanderbilt and St. Joseph's (Pa.) universities. Throughout his coaching career, the Abington, Pa., native has posted a 634-257 (.712) record and his squads have made 21 postseason appearances. At Ohio State, he has helped the Buckeyes qualify for five-consecutive NCAA tournaments and rank in the national Top 5 throughout the last three seasons.
The 2006-07 season saw the Buckeyes successfully defend their reign as Big Ten champion for the third season in a row. The Buckeyes finished 28-4 overall and 15-1 in league play. Ohio State won 17 consecutive games and got off to its best regular season (24-1) and Big Ten (13-0) start in team history. The Buckeyes shot 51 percent and led the country for the third time in the last three seasons.
Foster became the first in Big Ten history to win three coach of the year honors in succession. He guided Jessica Davenport to her third-consecutive Big Ten player of the year honor and also helped Brandie Hoskins land All-Big Ten first team honors. Star Allen, in her first season as a starter, was awarded second-team all-league and Marscilla Packer took third team laurels for the third year in a row.
In 2005-06, Foster guided OSU to a 29-3 overall mark that included a program record-tying 20-game win streak. Under Foster, Ohio State gained its second-consecutive Big Ten regular season title and won the Buckeyes' first all-time conference tournament championship. Following the league titles, Ohio State earned its second all-time No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and first since the 1993 season.
The Buckeyes led the Big Ten in seven overall team categories, including field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, assists and points allowed per game. For the fourth season in a row, Ohio State ranked in the national Top 5 in field goal percentage at .492 (904-1,836).
A 2006 Naismith Coach of the Year finalist and repeat winner of the Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, Foster helped Jessica Davenport also repeat as Big Ten Player of the Year as she led the conference in scoring, field goal percentage, rebounds and blocked shots. Davenport also gained her second-consecutive spots on the WBCA/Kodak, Associated Press and USBWA All-America teams.
Senior Debbie Merrill, junior Brandie Hoskins and sophomore Marscilla Packer all landed 2006 All-Big Ten honors. Packer led the league in 3-point field goals and 3-point field goal percentage. From her post position, Merrill topped the Buckeyes in assists and was second in the conference in assists-to-turnover ratio. She was drafted by the WNBA's Connecticut Sun in April. Hoskins added 2006 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player to her regular season honor.
In addition, senior guard Kim Wilburn was named 2006 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after she led the league in steals for the third time in four seasons.
Academically, four Buckeyes earned Academic All-Big Ten status. Seniors Tia Battle and Candace Dark gathered their second and third such honors, respectively, while junior Stephanie Blanton and sophomore Alice Jamen gained their second and first academic league honors.
Battle and fellow seniors Merrill and Wilburn also earned their degrees in 2005-06.
Buckeyes Reach New Heights In Foster's Third Year
The team also established program records in games played, three-point field goals, three-point field goal percentage, free throw percentage, assists and blocks, while leading the nation with a 50.8 field goal percentage.
Foster became Ohio State's first Big Ten Coach of the Year since Tara VanDerveer received the honor in 1984 and `85. The 2004-05 Buckeyes' shared the league title with Michigan State, the eventual national runner-up, and earned OSU's first No. 1-seed in the Big Ten tournament. Ohio State's perfect 17-0 record in Columbus was the best for any squad in the 40-year history of OSU basketball. Foster's 2004-05 squad was ranked No. 2 in the AP rankings for three-consecutive weeks. The No.2 ranking is the highest in OSU program history.
Foster mentored several Buckeyes to individual honors in the 2004-05 season, including sophomore center Jessica Davenport, who was selected Big Ten Player of the Year by both the coaches and media. A first-team selection on the Associated Press and Kodak/WBCA All-America teams, Davenport was a finalist for the Wooden Award, the NaismithTrophy and Wade Trophy for national player of the year.
During the season, Davenport collected five Big Ten player of the Week honors and also was named WBCA Player of the Month for January.
In addition, senior Caity Matter earned her third second-team honor from the conference, while Hoskins was named third-team and later picked up all-tournament accolades.
Matter also was named an honorable mention All-American by the AP and was selected as a WBCA All-Star.
Personally, Foster was recognized as a finalist for the WBCA Coach of the Year award and Naismith Coach of the Year award. For the second time in three season, he was voted the Columbus Dispatch Ohio Collegiate Coach of the Year.
Foster's success reaches far beyond the court. To date, all of the student-athletes Foster recruited to both St. Joseph's and Vanderbilt earned degrees and the eight seniors he inherited in his first three years at Ohio State have either graduated or are on track to earn their degree this school year. In addition, more than 30 former players have gone on to pursue graduate degrees.
At Ohio State, Foster's 2002-03 team produced four OSU Scholar-Athletes and the number increased to six in 2003-04 and 2004-05. In each of his first two seasons, three Buckeyes were named to academic All-Big Ten squads. In 2004-05, that number increased to five league academic honorees and was counted off at four in 2005-06.
Year Two in Columbus
In the fall of 2003, Alice Jamen, McDonald's All-American Marscilla Packer and McDonald's All-American Nominee Tamarah Riley committed to Ohio State and joined sophomore transfer Tia Battle to comprise Foster's second recruiting class.
First Year as Buckeye Head coach
During the 2002-03 season, two Buckeye players were named Big Ten player of the week for the first time since the 1994-95 season, two games took place in historic St. John Arena and senior Courtney Coleman, a WBCA/Kodak All-America Honorable Mention selection, was drafted as the first pick of the second round to the WNBA's Connecticut Sun. Coleman won the NCAA field-goal percentage title and sophomore Caity Matter was given the 2003 Edward S. Steitz Award, which is given to the best 3-point shooter in the country. Additionally, Coleman, Matter and freshman Kim Wilburn received an abundance of all-conference accolades.
Sophomore transfer Michelle Muñoz joined McDonald's All-Americans in Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins and the 2003 Dispatch/Agonis Club Co-Player of the Year Stephanie Blanton as Foster's inaugural recruiting class at Ohio State. Joe Smith, director of Women's Basketball News Service, tabbed Foster's first recruiting class as "one of the top two or three classes in the country."
Prior to Ohio State
During the 2001-02 season, Vanderbilt mirrored what had come to be expected of the Commodores. Foster's team earned a second Elite Eight finish in as many years, a Southeastern Conference (SEC) tournament championship, No. 4 Associated Press and No. 5 USA Today/ESPN rankings and his second 30-win campaign. In addition, Foster recorded his 500th career victory with an 81-78 win over Arkansas in the SEC tournament semifinal game March 2, 2002.
Taking the head coaching position at Vanderbilt May 22, 1991, Foster quickly made his mark on the program. Vanderbilt finished among the Top 10 for the first time (No. 7 in the USA Today/CNN poll) and made its best postseason finish at that time - an Elite Eight appearance in the 1992 NCAA Tournament. Season-ticket sales tripled at Vanderbilt by the beginning of the 1992-93 season and the Commodores were championship contenders at both the conference and national levels.
Prior to Foster's arrival, Vanderbilt had yet to win more than half its conference games, but he quickly reversed that trend. Under his leadership, the Commodores captured three SEC postseason tournament championship titles (1993, '95 and 2002) and made five trips (1993, '94, '95, 2001 and '02) to the SEC tournament championship game.
During the 1992-93 season, Foster's squad tallied a record-setting 30-3 season that included a No. 1 ranking, the SEC postseason tournament title and ultimately a spot in the Final Four. (Coincidentally, Ohio State also was in the Final Four that year but the teams did not meet.) Notably, the battle against intrastate rival Tennessee Jan. 30, 1993 featured the top two teams in the nation battling it out in Memorial Gymnasium. It marked the first women's basketball game at Vanderbilt to be an advance sellout. Additionally, Foster was named the 1993 United States Basketball Writers Association Coach of the Year.
Prior to his Vanderbilt appointment, Foster spent 13 years at St. Joseph's (Pa.) University (1978-91), where he recorded a 248-126 (.663) record and seven postseason appearances (six NCAA and one AIAW - Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women). During a span of six years (1985-90), the Hawks captured 1985, 1989 and 1990 first-place finishes in the Atlantic 10 Conference, six 20-plus win seasons and competed in the NCAA tournament every year. In 1985, Foster garnered NCAA coach of the year honors. His team was 25-5 that season, won the Atlantic 10 Conference title and made the NCAA tournament.
High Marks In the Classroom
Caity Matter completed her senior season in 2004-05 as a first-team member of the Senior CLASS award - Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School - Award, which is given to the outstanding female and male senior NCAA Division I basketball player. In 2003, Courtney Coleman was named a member of the second team for the 2003 Senior CLASS Award.
Student-athletes under Foster's leadership have earned numerous academic honors. Among the accolades are GTE CoSIDA Academic All-America, district and honorable mention Academic All-America, the SEC's prestigious Bud McWhorter Award and Vanderbilt's Academic Athlete of the Year honors.
During his 11-year tenure at Vanderbilt, Foster coached 54 SEC academic honor roll players. Notably in 1992, Vanderbilt set a conference record with nine players named to the SEC academic honor roll and in 1993 the entire starting lineup from the Final Four team was named to the conference honor roll. Foster also coached one academic All-American and two district All-Americans while at St. Joseph's.
Contributions Beyond the Court
In 1992, he became the first and only male to be elected president of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, a group whose mission is to "promote women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport of women's basketball and to foster and promote the development of the game in all of its aspects as an amateur sport for women and girls."
Foster's contribution to the game of basketball also can be witnessed indirectly. More than 20 of Foster's former players are now coaches at every level of the game. Additionally, a number of his former assistants are now guiding their own programs, most notably Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw, Kansas State's Deb Patterson and St. Joseph's Cindy Griffin.
Besides basketball, Foster also has experience at the administration level. From Nov. 21, 1995 to Aug. 1, 1996 Foster was Vanderbilt's interim athletics director, during which time he oversaw 15 varsity sports and about 300 student-athletes. Described as being "anything but just a caretaker," Foster added to the diversity of the university by hiring women and minorities to the athletics department's management team. During his appointment, Vanderbilt went through the NCAA certification process and was ultimately granted certification in 1997.
Foster's influence and efforts reached beyond the Vanderbilt athletics department. In 1996, Foster was honored by the Vanderbilt Opportunity Development Center with an Affirmative Action award for his efforts to help diversify the Vanderbilt community and to elevate the lives of others in Nashville.
Foster was named the 2003 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year and Matter earned a spot as part of the 2003 USA Basketball Team of the Year, both of which honors were selected by the USA Basketball Executive Committee. Foster and Matter (as part of the team) were also nominated by USA Basketball for the U.S. Olympic Committee's developmental coach of the year and team of the year awards, respectively.
In August 2005, Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins were selected to play for USA Basketball at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey. The junior tandem helped Team USA post a 7-0 mark for the tournament and claim the gold medal.
Prior to his appointment in the summer of 2003, Foster served as the head coach during the 1997 World University Games at Marsala, Sicily, Italy. The United States had not won gold in that particular event since 1991, but under Foster, the Americans were undefeated (6-0) and averaged 93 points a game. The U.S. defeated Cuba 100-82 in the gold medal game.
He also served as the head coach for both the USA Junior World Championship squad in 1993 and the Junior National Team in 1991. Foster was an assistant coach for gold-medal winning teams at the World Championship (1990), Goodwill Games (1990) and U.S. Olympic Festival (1987). He also was an assistant coach for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team that captured the bronze medal in Barcelona, Spain.
Besides coaching contributions, Foster also served on two selection committees for USA Basketball. From 1989-92, Foster was on the USA Basketball Games Committee, which selected players and staff for various teams, including the 1990 World Championship team, the 1992 Olympic team and staff and players for all collegiate-level teams. He also served on the USA Basketball Player Selection Committee from 1993-96, which chose players to fill rosters on different teams, such as the 1994 World Championship team, the 1995-96 Women's Senior National team and the 1996 Olympic team, not to mention a variety of collegiate-level squads.
Foster also has been invited to numerous coaching clinics around the world, including countries such as Korea, Australia and Croatia.
Foster's Yearly Records
*The Big 5 is a city-wide series between Philadelphia schools: La Salle, Pennsylvania, St. Jospeh's, Temple and Villanova.